I hope that this edition of ICO Matters finds you, our alumni and friends, healthy and safe during this unprecedented time. I know that your families and practices have been impacted by COVID-19, and I know that you are all doing the best that you can under present conditions. This edition of ICO Matters will provide you with an opportunity to push back from your daily worries and to reflect upon your time at ICO while we update you on the latest from your Alma Mater.
Everyone at ICO has been busy over the last two months working to adapt our operations to deliver online learning for our students and manage our day-to-day operations remotely during the Illinois Stay-at-Home order. Our faculty has worked diligently to ensure our students remain on track with their degree completion. This has been a priority for us to manage on behalf of our students and to provide them with one less worry. At this time, both didactic and clinical education are occurring online. This is no small feat indeed. I am proud of the creativity and diligence of our faculty for their hard work in continuing to deliver the curriculum during these challenging times. I am also proud of our students who are adapting well to these new delivery methods, including remote testing and evaluations. ICO spirit is palpable in all of these efforts as we work to navigate these constantly changing times.
Most of our ICO employees are working remotely by providing continued support to our academic and clinical teams. Through the use of Microsoft Teams, we are able to continue conducting business within the College and with our students in a timely fashion. Where needed, employees are coming to campus on staggered schedules to provide those services that cannot be handled remotely in as safe a manner as possible. We are adapting to this new situation.
The Illinois Eye Institute has continued ensuring that emergent and high risk cases are well managed by delivering services on-site, as well as by telehealth. Each day our clinicians and staff are figuring out new ways to serve the needs of our patients safely and effectively. I am truly impressed by the creativity they have shown in finding new ways to do things in order to meet the needs of our patients.
While we all hope that COVID-19 just goes away, as healthcare providers, we know that will not be the case. We continue to monitor the situation and adapt our operation as conditions warrant. At this writing, we are still under the IL Governor’s order to stay at home and not gather in groups larger than ten. Once that order is lifted, and it is deemed safe to do so, we plan to phase in our return to both patient care and instruction on campus. While we will not be able to gather in person to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our Class of 2020 on the scheduled date in May (that was certainly an agonizing decision that I hope to never have to make again!), we will be recognizing scholarship and award recipients and conferring their degrees on time, and we will look for a way to celebrate with them in person when it is prudent to do so.
We are grateful to all of our alumni and friends for your support and good wishes at this time. Your periodic kind words of encouragement have been greatly appreciated. We know that you are leaders in your practices and communities who have prepared well to be voices of reason, stability and evidenced-based practice to navigate these uncertain times. This pandemic is teaching us all about new ways to do things and how important adaptability is to success. I wish good health to you and your families.
Mark K. Colip, OD '92