Petition for SCUHS DC Fall 19-10T Class of 2022 In-Person White Coat Ceremony
Petition for SCUHS DC Fall 19-10T Class of 2022 In-Person White Coat Ceremony
Why this petition matters
To the administration of the Southern California University of Health Sciences,
On behalf of the SCUHS DC Fall 19-10T class of 2022, we respectfully request that our remote White Coat ceremony scheduled for January 13, 2022 be reconsidered and adjusted to accommodate in-person participation.
To chiropractic students across the nation, the white coat ceremony represents the epitome of academic achievement and marks a transition from student to health care professional. The white coat ceremony is one of only a handful of milestones that we have the opportunity to share with close friends, family members and mentors, all of whom have contributed and sacrificed to allow us to pursue our passion. This celebration is just as much for them as it is for us.
This last year and a half has been exceptionally difficult for our cohort. Uncertainty since March 2020, with transitioning from zoom to 5-week labs, back to zoom, back to on-campus labs only - it has been a rough year and half to say the least. Our cohort took COVID-19 on, with minimal complaint and the least the administration could do is grant us one wish, to have an in-person white coat ceremony.
We recognize that it may not be possible to conduct a traditional white coat ceremony in the current environment. The health and safety of our families, the staff, and our class is our top priority. With this in mind, we are proposing to keep the use of masks for the ceremony as well as Smartabase - the COVID-19 screen. We are aware that other healthcare programs within LA and the Greater Los Angeles area have safely and successfully conducted in-person white coat and graduation ceremonies while still adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols and regulations. Links to these recent in-person ceremonies are provided below and include universities such as USC, UC Irvine, UCLA, Western University of Health Sciences, Loma Linda University and Marshall B. Ketchum University. In addition to the White Coat ceremonies of other graduate level programs, we would like to bring attention to the in-person graduation ceremony of our very own school being held in an outdoor venue in Los Angeles County in December 2021.
Held on 7/29/21: Loma Linda University School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony Class of 2025
Held on 8/2-7/21: Western University of Health Sciences White Coat Ceremony
Held on 8/5-6/21: USC Keck School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony Class of 2024
Held on 8/18/21: USC PharmD back-to-back White Coat Ceremony Class of 2024 and 2025
Held on 8/27/21: USC Occupational Therapy White Coat Ceremony Class of 2022 and 2023
Held on 8/27/21: USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy White Coat Ceremony Class of 2022 and 2023
Held on 9/3/21: UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony Class of 2025
Held on 9/24/21: UC Irvine PharmD White Coat Ceremony Class of 2025
Held on 10/8/21: Marshall B. Ketchum University PA Studies White Coat Ceremony Class of 2022
Despite the new variants and the start of flu season, the COVID-19 cases are on a downward trend in Los Angeles. On November 30, there has been a decrease in total cases by almost 20%, the death rate has gone down by 16% and hospitalization has decreased by 7% since two weeks ago. According to the CDC, the amount of COVID-19 cases in California are projected to continue to decrease with the collective efforts of mandated masking, social distancing and COVID-19 vaccinations, with 70% of California residents being vaccinated and booster shot availability. We believe that with COVID safety precautions and social distancing in an outdoor venue, we will continue to do our part as future providers to protect ourselves, our families, and most importantly the public’s health. Supporting links to CDC articles are provided below.
Interpretation of Forecasts of New Cases
Tracking COVID-19 in California
In light of declining COVID-19 cases within California and LA, our cohort as a whole has contemplated and selected 3 potential alternatives, which conjointly satisfy state and local guidelines while preserving the safety and integrity of the faculty, students, families, and ceremony.
1. Our first alternative involves holding the ceremony in an outdoor setting within the university premises itself. This alternative is in line with the University of Southern California Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy program, as well as the CDC guidelines of COVID-19 in LA County. USC Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy program is also located in LA County and on August 27th, 2021 they were able to host a COVID-19 friendly white coat ceremony for their students. In following this proposal, we would require that students, faculty, and family members remain seated outdoors during the entire duration of the ceremony and that chairs remain spaced at least 6 feet apart. We would also implement the use of KN95 masks, as well as Smartabase - the COVID 19 pre-scan.
The current CDC guidelines for LA County states that for outdoor venues of 5,000 or less, masks and proof of vaccination or negative test within 72 hour period is not required but recommended. However with the health and safety of our family and staff in mind, we are still electing to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines of masking. LA County is allowing events of 1,000-10,000 attendees. We are proposing our event to hold no more than 250 people and that each student be allowed to bring a maximum of 3 guests to their ceremony, everyone wear masks, and remain socially distant. We are also considering the need for assigned seating per party. In some venues, visitors must show that they are fully vaccinated or that they have had a negative test in the last 3 days; an option that we are open to considering as well.
2. Our second alternative involves holding the ceremony on campus in an outdoor setting with only students and faculty. This proposal is in line with Marshall B. Ketchum University Physician Assistant Program whose white coat ceremony was held on October 8, 2021. This program had allowed their students to walk across the stage of their campus Amphitheater. Held entirely outside, students were able to receive their white coats from faculty and stream it live to family via Zoom. This proposal helps to maintain the dignity and significance of the white coat ceremony. The SCUHS DC Term 8, 10 track class of 2022 is also open to this alternative as we want to share this moment with each other and with our faculty who have greatly supported us throughout our journey. We believe that this alternative addresses such a dilemma by being able to celebrate in-person together. Since on-campus lab classes have returned, our cohort has managed to successfully uphold the mask and Smartabse mandates that have been placed. If the ceremony is on campus in an outdoor setting with only students and faculty, there is no further risk than attending an on-campus lab since we are exposed to each other every Monday and Friday with zero confirmed cases or spread of COVID in our cohort or faculty.
3. Our third and final alternative involves holding the ceremony at a stadium, park, or other venue. This venue ideally, would be held outdoors and spacious enough to satisfy appropriate social distancing protocol. This proposal is in line with SCUHS DC Graduation Ceremony that is scheduled to take place in-person in December 2021 at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. We strongly believe that proposal #3 could be a viable long term solution to addressing both graduation needs and white coat ceremonies for all students at SCUHS.
We want to take this time to thank the DC faculty and staff for all their support and diligent work during these challenging times. The SCUHS DC Spring 19-10T class of 2022 are open to working alongside administration to plan such alternatives. We hope that this petition will be strongly considered and show our dedication to the profession.
Thank you for your time and consideration.