The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many innovative responses in the CCLCM curriculum. Early in the pandemic, the college administration swung into action quickly, using the initial reports of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in Wuhan to educate the students about previous coronavirus epidemics, transmission and the experience with SARS in Toronto. Policies were put in place for appropriate contact precautions, as the initial concern was mostly transmission by fomites (e.g., clothing, backpacks, books). With increasing awareness of the spread of the virus outside of China and the role of asymptomatic transmission, CCLCM prepared to move in-person classes to virtual video conferencing platforms.

Several year 1 students developed a workflow for conducting small group problem-based learning via Zoom. This workflow was finalized and piloted at the end of February 2020. This early strategy proved fortuitous. In March 2020, when the first COVID-19 cases were detected in Cleveland, the faculty and students were ready to move the years 1 and 2 didactic curriculum online.

Using IRB-approved protocols, Neil Mehta, MBBS, MS, Associate Dean of Curricular Affairs and Professor of Medicine, led the effort to formally study the impact of these changes in curriculum on students, faculty and patients. Data collected from these efforts helped inform the planning of curriculum delivery for the remainder of 2020.

Robert Wilson, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, recorded videos demonstrating an approach for performing a neurologic exam remotely during a virtual visit. Jennifer Kriegler, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, and Dr. Wilson worked with faculty in the Neurological Institute to create innovative clinical experiences such as tele-stroke care.

Shreya Louis and Drs. Kriegler, Mehta and Wilson were invited to present the lessons learned from their student clinical experiences at a virtual workshop hosted by Tec de Monterrey in Mexico in the summer of 2020.