Dean Allan Boike Addresses the One Year Anniversary of the KSUCPM Coronavirus Shutdown
It was exactly one year ago today when KSUCPM closed our campus in response to Covid-19. We all left that day with the intention to be back in two or three weeks. I don’t think anyone anticipated the months that would follow.
This past year has been difficult in so many ways. I would first like to acknowledge those of you who have personally lost family members and friends to the virus. You have my deepest sympathies for your loss. Others of you tested positive for Covid-19 and had to endure a variety of symptoms while isolating alone in your apartment.
While I do think of the hardships over the past year, I also think of the many instances of support and growth I have witnessed.
To the Class of 2021: 10 days after you began your final year at KSCUPM, the country essentially “shut down” for a period of weeks/months. You had to adjust quickly to programs cancelling or postponing your clerkship. You were working in hospitals alongside residents and physicians treating Covid-19 patients. I admire your resiliency and your fearless attitude. These traits will carry over as you begin residency in a few short months. I am proud of the accomplishments you have made over these last 4 years and I know I will be just as proud to have you represent the college as alumni during residency.
To the Class of 2022: Covid-19 hit right in the middle of your 2nd year as you were gearing up and preparing for APMLE part 1. Your usual study spots on campus were suddenly closed and you were alone as you prepared for one of the most difficult assessments in your medical student career. Your 3rd year rotations looked different than past years as we maintained CDC guidelines in clinical settings. Even now, you are beginning your 4th year while still enduring the challenges of a pandemic. I continue to be impressed by your perseverance and am eager for you to show residency programs across the country this same level of dedication that you displayed over the last year. You will make us all proud as you begin clerkships.
To the Class of 2023: Just as you were finding your footing as a first year medical student, Covid-19 altered the way you receive lectures, labs, and even how you take assessments. The second semester of your first year is notoriously difficult – before you throw in a virus sweeping across the world. Your ability to adapt and pivot on a dime is truly remarkable. You completed your first year remotely without any celebration of your accomplishments – and you do deserve to be celebrated. I have every confidence that you will finish your second year strong and look forward to working alongside each of you as you begin your clinical rotations in the coming months.
To the Class of 2024: You chose to enter medicine during a tumultuous time when no one knew what the educational experience would look like for first year medical students across the country. And you still showed up, eager to put in the work. You enter lab with gowns and gloves and masks and shields. You will be a PPE expert by the time you graduate. It is certainly not an easy transition into medical school – and to do so while listening to lectures remotely and not having as many outlets to relieve stress – makes the situation even more trying. You are doing the best you can and I continue to be impressed with your desire to pursue podiatric medicine and put in the hard work.
To the Faculty and Staff: I remember telling each of you that the University will close for a couple weeks to better flatten the curve. I never thought that “a couple weeks” would turn into 365 days. I know that just as the students were forced to adapt, you adapted as well. You were resourceful in finding ways to complete your job and support our students. You were patient when we simply did not have any answers. I know that many of you have never worked harder than you have in the past year – and I thank you for all of your efforts. It does not go unnoticed.
In closing, I want to thank each member of the KSUCPM community. Every single one of you had to adapt when it came to classes, labs, rotations or even how you do your job every day. And you continued to prioritize KSUCPM even when the world seemed to stop turning. I am grateful for all of the support you have provided me and I am most grateful for all the support you have provided to one another.
I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Allan M. Boike, DPM FACFAS
Dean – CEO
Professor, Division of Podiatric Surgery
Kent State University – College of Podiatric Medicine