COVID Impact on Student Clinical Activities

At Southern State Community College, the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and their families is of the utmost importance. If you are registered this fall for an onsite course, you will be expected to follow specific guidelines established by the CDC, Ohio Department of Health, local health departments and the College. Please review these guidelines and keep them in mind as you prepare for clinical activities.

Our world has been facing one of the most severe public healthcare crises in the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are many opinions on the level of disruption of our personal and professional lives needed to overcome the disease, many of us know of individuals who have been stricken by the disease, have died or may have lasting health issues as a result. The challenges have, and continue to be, strongly felt by those in the healthcare industry. Those that work in those industries, or aspire to do so, have little chance to remain unaffected. Recent announcements requiring COVID vaccination by many of the major healthcare providers in our area are just one example of that impact.

Staff and students in healthcare fields are now being required to obtain and show proof of vaccination and/or routine testing protocols, at many hospitals and other agencies. That list seems to be growing such that Southern State has no way to predict how broadly the mandates will extend. Those organizations believe the vaccines are proven to reduce the spread of the virus and its new variants and are establishing these mandates for the protection of their patients and staff.

These requirements are not being mandated by Southern State Community College, but to complete the requirements of our programs it is likely that healthcare students will need to spend time in those facilities. Southern State's clinical agreements mandate that participating students meet all policies and requirements of the facility. Our healthcare programs generally require experiences at a wide range of facilities so choosing not to participate at sites where vaccines are required limits the students' ability to achieve the skills required by the program.

Many facilities requiring vaccination have provisions for exceptions based on religious beliefs, practices, and observances, sincerely held reasons of conscience, or specific medical considerations that are contrary to the practice of vaccination or prohibit receipt of a particular vaccination. Forms for those exceptions can be obtained from either the provider facility as made available or by Southern State. We do caution, however, that Southern State does not have information on the timeliness of response to those exceptions. We do not know the proportion of those requests that are approved, and we do feel it is likely that even if an exemption is granted, there may be additional working requirements students may face. As a result, Southern State does recommend that receiving the COVID vaccine is the most likely way to ensure students can complete the clinical requirements of their program.

If a student refuses to abide by any of the requirements of a given clinical site, including but not limited to the COVID vaccine and/or a testing alternative, the program will attempt to direct that student to other locations with alternative requirements. Southern State cannot guarantee the availability of suitable alternatives with requirements that are acceptable to all students. Refusing to comply with the policies of the sites available to Southern State students can result in failure to meet the requirements of the academic program. Such a choice is at the students' own personal risk and could prevent the student from successful completion of their academic program.

Any information that Southern State requests from students on their vaccination status is used only to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of our partner healthcare facilities. That information may be passed along to partners where students will be performing clinical activities. Refusal to provide that information will result in the student being unable to participate at many of our clinical locations.

Clinical Partner's Information

Clinical Partner's currently mandating vaccinations include:

  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital

If I choose not to vaccinate due to medical or vaccination exemption forms can be requested by contacting Susan Morris - COVID19 Coordinator at covid19@sscc.edu.