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Songfest Moves Online During Coronavirus Pandemic

The song, dance and philanthropy of Songfest has united students at The University of Toledo since 1937.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 83rd annual event won’t take place at Savage Arena in front of a big crowd as originally planned.

However, organizers found a way for the show to go on online.

The fun has already started on Twitter. Go to @UToledoSongfest to vote for the best Songfest performances of all time.

Students who have been preparing their performances for Songfest 2020 “Rockets Hit Shuffle” also will share their dances and songs from home to the Twitter account using the hashtag #Songfest2020. And money will still be raised for this year’s charitable organization — the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center.

“We want to turn this sad time for many students into an opportunity to engage and raise awareness for the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center, which works to promote healthy relationships and break the cycle of family violence so every home can be a safe home,” said Grace Garcia, UToledo student and member of the Mortar Board National Honor Society. “Many hours of practice go into the weeks and months leading up to Songfest, and we want to carry on this beloved tradition in the safest way possible in this unprecedented time when we can’t be together.”

Garcia said raising money and awareness to help domestic violence victims is especially important right now as families are huddled at home because of the national shutdown to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Spotlighting this issue can have a huge impact because children and families with a history of domestic violence are at an increased risk of facing more problems as schools are closed and many employees are working from home or not working,” Garcia said.

The Songfest donor drive is open until Monday, March 30. To donate, go to the Fundly website.

UToledo to Credit Student Accounts for Spring Housing, Meal Plans

The University of Toledo has finalized plans to credit student accounts for on-campus housing and meal plans that cannot be used for the remainder of spring semester due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We know that the past few weeks have been a tumultuous time for you and for the University,” said Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost. “The patience that students have demonstrated as we worked through the process of housing and dining credits for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester is truly appreciated.”

UToledo students with housing and meal plans who moved off campus on or before March 25 will receive a credit of up to $1,230. Students who lived in McComas Village and did not have a meal plan will receive a credit of up to $750. Students living in Honors Academic Village with a meal plan will receive a meal plan credit of up to $350. And students with a commuter meal plan will receive a credit of up to $200.

Students have three options to receive these funds: a credit toward next fall’s on-campus housing; a credit toward next fall’s meal plan; or a credit applied to their student account with a refund determined after UToledo aid, non-refundable aid, any balances owed, and federal student financial aid are taken into consideration.

If a student chooses a fall 2020 credit option, the amount received may be treated as estimated financial assistance for the 2020-21 academic year.

An online form has been created for students to start the housing credit process. The deadline to inform the University on how to apply the credit is Friday, April 10.

The Division of Student Affairs worked closely with the Office of Student Financial Aid and the state of Ohio to navigate this refund process, in addition to exploring best practices of other universities around the country. UToledo took into consideration expenses already incurred to ready the residence halls for students at the beginning of the semester along with other costs, and balanced that with reimbursing students for the remaining weeks of the semester when they will not live on campus.

“We thank our students and their families for their patience and understanding as we determined this housing refund process and also for the safe and orderly way we were able to move students out of the residence halls in this rapidly evolving and unprecedented situation,” Cockrell said.

Rocket Solution Central is available to answer questions about the housing and meal plan credits. Email rocketsolutioncentral@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.8700.

UToledo, Owens Launch New Nursing Education Partnership

A dual-admission agreement between The University of Toledo and Owens Community College provides a new approach for educating the next generation of nurses.

The new partnership — the first of its kind in northwest Ohio — allows students to jointly apply for admission to the nursing programs at both Owens and UToledo, establishing a seamless pathway for students to earn an associate in applied science degree in registered nursing from Owens followed by a bachelor of science degree in nursing from UToledo while having access to all the benefits of both institutions.

UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber shook hands with Owens Community College President Steve Robinson after signing a dual-admission agreement for nursing programs at both institutions. Dr. Catherine Ford, dean of the Owens School of Nursing and Health Professions, left, and Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UToledo College of Nursing, were on hand for the ceremony.

“This is a wonderful way to strengthen our relationship with Owens and provide even more opportunities for students in our region, ensuring their success in the workplace,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Having a baccalaureate degree increases opportunities for nurses, and it is important that we establish these types of partnerships to ensure individuals in our community have the strong educational foundation they need for a successful nursing career.”

“Creating pathways for student success is an important part of Owens’ strategic plan, and we are excited for what this dual enrollment agreement with The University of Toledo means for our nursing students,” said Owens Community College President Steve Robinson. “This seamless pathway from an associate to bachelor’s degree will help remove another barrier to student success, and we are proud to partner with The University of Toledo to make that happen.”

The agreement was signed during a ceremony at Owens March 5. The program is expected to enroll its first students this summer.

The new dual-admission program is designed to give students a sense of belonging at both institutions, while providing unique opportunities and support throughout their education.

Advisers from both Owens and UToledo will work with students from the start to ensure they are taking the courses needed to complete both degrees.

As students enrolled at both Owens and UToledo, individuals can receive free tickets to UToledo sporting events, access to UToledo libraries, and participate in programs and activities sponsored by the UToledo Office of Student Involvement and Leadership — all while working toward their associate’s degree at Owens. Students also have the option to take electives and general education courses at UToledo.

Upon completion of their associate’s degree from Owens, students have a guaranteed spot in the UToledo College of Nursing’s online R.N. to B.S.N. program, with no additional application or admission fee.

While a B.S.N. isn’t necessary for licensure, recent surveys from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have found that more than 80% of employers strongly prefer job candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

The percentage of employers who require new hires to have a bachelor’s degree also has risen sharply in recent years, from 30% in 2011 to 43% in 2019.

“We are thrilled about the nursing program dual admission and enrollment agreement with The University of Toledo,” said Dr. Catherine Ford, dean of the Owens School of Nursing and Health Professions. “Owens nursing students will now be able to complete the associate in applied science degree at Owens while dual-enrolled at UToledo. This allows students to purposefully prepare for transition to UToledo to complete the R.N. to B.S.N. program. The need for registered nurses continues to be very strong in northwest Ohio and nationwide, making these types of collaborations especially important for students entering the profession.”

“There is a growing body of evidence that indicates having a baccalaureate degree makes a difference in terms of patient outcomes, patient safety and quality of care,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UToledo College of Nursing. “The additional education students receive in a B.S.N. program adds skills in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, care coordination, critical thinking and problem solving, all of which are vital in today’s complex healthcare environments.”

UToledo’s R.N. to B.S.N. program can be done through a traditional online curriculum or through the University’s first-in-the-state Competency-Based Education Program, which provides students unique flexibility to pursue a B.S.N. at their own personalized pace.

University of Toledo Medical Center Lab Can Test for COVID-19

The University of Toledo Medical Center’s pathology laboratory now has the ability to test for COVID-19 and deliver results in less than 48 hours. The service will significantly reduce the waiting period for patients and their physicians to confirm a diagnosis.

UTMC is the first laboratory in northwest Ohio with the capability to test for COVID-19.

The medical center is working closely with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and other area hospitals to prioritize testing for patients who are hospitalized with severe pneumonia or who are in intensive care units with severe respiratory illness. UTMC also will test symptomatic first responders and healthcare providers who have had direct exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case while not wearing personal protective equipment.

“Testing supplies are still limited, and we have to be strategic about how we deploy our resources,” said Mo Smith, associate vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at UTMC. “However, by working with our community partners, we can significantly increase the pace of testing in northwest Ohio as we work to fight this dangerous virus.”

UTMC has the ability to process 180 samples per day. Patients will not be able to individually request a test. All testing must be ordered by healthcare professionals, following criteria established by the Ohio Department of Health.

UToledo Launches COVID-19 Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Students

As the world grapples with the growing coronavirus pandemic, The University of Toledo has created a fund to assist students during this unprecedented time.

Rocket nation is asked to consider donating to the COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign.

The University of Toledo Foundation is partnering with the UToledo Division of Student Affairs with a goal to raise $30,000 by the end of the fiscal year. The campaign collected $10,000 in a matter of hours after launching, and, as of March 23, more than $20,000 has been raised.

“The outpouring of support since this fund launched has been amazing,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We want to thank alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University who are coming together to assist our students. We are Rockets helping Rockets.”

“So many UToledo students are being impacted by this new reality we are living,” Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said. “Within a week, 1,159 of our students can no longer work on campus, and 125 students are not able to return home to their native countries.”

“Gifts through this campaign will alleviate some financial stress and worries for UToledo students who are struggling to maintain basic needs,” said Dr. Michele Soliz, associate vice president for student success and inclusion.

This online giving campaign will provide emergency relief for students in need. Donations will help students facing financial hardships pay for housing, utilities, car repairs, medical bills, food and toiletries.

“Together, we can make a difference for our UToledo students,” Cockrell said. “Gifts of any amount will be appreciated.”

Make a donation and learn more about the drive on the COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign website.

UToledo students can apply for up to $500. For details, go to the Division of Student Affairs website.

“We encourage students in need to apply for help,” Soliz said. “We will review applications and work with the Office of Financial Aid to distribute funds.”

For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Student Success at omss@utoledo.edu.

UPDATED: UToledo Announces Flexible Grade Options for Students

To help undergraduate and graduate students at The University of Toledo who are concerned about maintaining grades this spring semester, several options are being offered that would allow them to complete their courses without a letter grade or have more time to finish this semester’s coursework.

“We understand this is a challenging time as students have dramatically altered their way of life in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “One way we can help during these unprecedented times is to provide more flexibility as students adjust to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester.”

Students will have the following options:

Pass/No Credit (PE/NE) Grade Option — Students can choose to receive a pass/no credit grade for spring semester courses rather than the regular letter grade. This option will have no impact on their GPA.

• Incomplete (IE) Grade Option — Students can work with their instructors to request a unique Incomplete (IE) that the University is authorizing for this spring term because of the extraordinary circumstances we are in. This Incomplete also has no impact on this semester’s GPA and gives students the ability to complete their coursework by the end of the fall 2020 semester.

• Withdrawal Deadline Extended — The last day to withdraw from spring classes has been extended to May 1, 2020.

These options are being made available to provide students additional flexibility during this unique situation, however, students are strongly encouraged to contact their faculty and academic advisor to understand the impact these options could have on their program completion, plans for future professional or graduate programs, and/or eligibility for some licensures. Rocket Solution Central is available to answer questions about any financial aid implications.

The provost updated the campus community on Tuesday that the online courses that were 100% online from the start of the semester will now also be eligible for the PE/NE grading option. The April 20 deadline for petitioning for PE/NE also has been removed. Students can now have the option to view their regular letter grade for a course first, and then decide if they want to petition to change their grade to a PE/NE by May 22.

For more information and to access the form, visit the Special Grade Option website. The website also has been updated with frequently asked questions.

UToledo to Maintain Critical Research Operations Only

The University of Toledo, in adherence to the Ohio Department of Health’s recent Stay at Home Order, will restrict research operations to critical research and related essential functions beginning Tuesday, March 24.

Critical research is defined as activity that if discontinued would generate significant data and sample loss; pose a safety hazard; or negatively impact the patient’s care. This includes coronavirus-related activity that has a timeline for deployment that could address the crisis and activity in support of essential human subject research. In addition, this also includes activity that maintains critical equipment in facilities and laboratories; critical samples, reagents and materials; animal populations; and critically needed plant populations, tissue cultures, bacteria, archaea and other living organisms.

Last week UToledo researchers were advised to begin planning for significant disruptions to routine operations. Those plans identified critical research functions and associated essential research personnel for those functions.

UToledo Medical Students Learn Residency Placements Via Virtual Match Day Event

A total of 165 fourth-year medical students at The University of Toledo learned their residency placements March 20 during a live-streamed, virtual Match Day event.

The annual Match Day celebration is a highly anticipated moment for medical students in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and at medical schools across the country. Soon-to-be physicians discover at the same moment where they will spend the next three to seven years in residency as they train in their chosen specialties.

Under normal circumstances, students gather together in person with family and friends to share the experience of learning the next step in their careers. However, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the need to limit large gatherings, UToledo celebrated the 2020 Match Day remotely.

“We know this is a very important time in the lives of our students, and one they expected to spend with friends and colleagues as they take one of the final steps before going out into the community as physicians,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “We worked very hard to create something special despite the difficult realities we’re living with right now. We are so proud of this class of fourth-year students who will soon be providing care in the communities in which they’ll be practicing.”

In addition to the 165 who learned their match Friday, two individuals had already matched with the U.S. Armed Forces, bringing the total to 167.

The number of students who matched with The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences residency programs increased 30% over the previous year, while the total number of students staying in the greater northwest Ohio region increased nearly 50% over the 2019 match.

“We are delighted so many of our students will be staying in our region as they begin their careers as physicians,” Cooper said. “One of our key missions is to provide a pipeline of well-trained, well-qualified physicians to care for our region’s health. It’s encouraging to see such a large increase in the number of students who matched in northwest Ohio.”

Among the other institutions where UToledo students will do their residency work are Yale, Brown, Emory, Duke, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic.

Match Day Goes Virtual: UToledo Medical Students Asked to Share Photos, Videos

Celebrating online — that’s what 165 fourth-year medical students at The University of Toledo will do when they find out where they will continue their training Friday, March 20.

This unprecedented time calls for a virtual Match Day event. The live stream will start at 11:30 a.m. on the College of Medicine and Life Sciences website.

The highly anticipated annual ceremony will take place at noon as UToledo graduating medical students will join thousands of their peers across the country to open emails that contain their match.

To recognize this memorable day in a safe way, Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs, invites students to share their social media posts, photos, videos and messages during the live-stream event.

Students are asked to use #UToledoMatch on social media posts. In addition, students may send messages, photos from watch parties and more to medsocial@utoledo.edu. Photos and videos of students opening their emails to learn where they matched are encouraged.

Special GIF stickers for UToledo’s virtual Match Day have been created: Search UToledo in the Instagram and Snapchat apps.

Medical students spend months interviewing with hospitals and universities across the nation to determine where they want to continue to their medical training.

Students rank their top institutions, and academic and community-based health systems rank their top student choices. A computer algorithm administered by the National Resident Matching Program then puts together the students and residency programs.

Residents are licensed physicians who care for patients under the supervision of attending physicians while they continue to train in their chosen specialties.

Last year, 165 UToledo fourth-year medical students matched into positions in 23 specialties at institutions in 28 states.

Website Launched to Coordinate Services for Student Success

As students and faculty make the transition to online learning for the remainder of spring semester as part of the University’s response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a centralized website has been launched to ensure students have convenient access to support services.

The new site at utoledo.edu/success connects students with resources through this unprecedented situation so they can continue their studies with as little interruption and as much support as needed.

Students also are encouraged to submit inquiries if there are services they are accustomed to using on campus and are unsure how to access remotely. The site includes a submission form that will be answered during regular business hours. Those inquiries also will be used to inform additions to the website so others can benefit from the information.