Microscopic COVID-19

Coronavirus Updates to our Campus Community

Case Western Reserve provides regular updates about COVID-19 and efforts to ensure the health of our campus community.

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To help address questions from our community, we have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions and provided answers. If you have additional questions about the School of Dental Medicine's operations during COVID-19 please let us know. All questions received are compiled and reviewed by a team prior to responses being sent out. Please give us 48-72 hours to respond as we are receiving numerous questions at this time. Thank you!

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Dean's Messages

The Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine is committed to providing an outstanding education while simultaneously easing the transition to distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis. Like dental schools around the country, we are facing some uncertainties, but we will work to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Review messages from Dean Chance below.

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

Today, I want to take a moment to echo the words of President Snyder in her recent message to faculty and staff and call your attention to some additional points.

First, please know that you—all of you—are making extraordinary contributions to our community. You have supported our students, found new ways to perform your functions, and continued your learning and research through so much uncertainty. We are so grateful.

And while we wish we could provide you specific details about our future operations, we are left with much ambiguity. With that said, however, we do wish to update you on several, specific items you have been asking about:

  1. Dental Clinics: Our dental clinics continue to provide emergency services to patients. We are working with all the different groups involved to expand these operations in a safe and healthy manner. We anticipate clinics will reopen on a rolling schedule and will provide updates as they are available.
  2. Academic Calendar and Course Offerings: For the summer semester, we have shifted class offerings for D3 students to offer didactic classes, which have previously been given in the fall semester. This will allow for additional hours of patient interaction once the dental clinics completely reopen to students. The university plans to announce the fall semester’s calendar during the first week of June.
  3. Deliberation and Decision: As President Snyder noted in her recent message, a 60-plus member committee has been working since March to make recommendations and provide comments prior to final decisions by the President’s Cabinet. Special thanks to the many members of our school who have been involved in these efforts and have played pivotal roles while representing the School of Dental Medicine.
  4. Summer Session 2020: As a reminder, all Summer Session 2020 courses will be delivered remotely.
  5. Health Education Campus (HEC): Cleveland Clinic continues to maintain Samson Pavilion as a potential overflow space for patients in the event of a future spike in COVID-19 cases. We do not yet have a firm idea of when the HEC might return to full use as an academic setting, but can say it is unlikely to happen before mid-August, and could extend for several more months. As a result, facilities and other university staff are working to identify and prepare alternative classroom options on campus within our former buildings. For further details visit our FAQ page.

I hope you’ve found this information helpful. If you have any additional questions, I encourage you to submit them to our FAQ page.


Dean Chance

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.”
—Unknown Author

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

What a week it has been! A week of celebration and reflection as we saluted the class of 2020. For those of you who have not yet seen our virtual commencement festivities, I encourage you to take a few moments to view the University Convocation and the School of Dental Medicine Diploma Ceremony.

As we now march forth into the unknown and make plans for whatever the fall might hold, I am reminded of something I once heard… Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path. I want you to keep that in mind as we work together to confront, head-on, whatever challenges lie ahead of us! I truly believe there is a rainbow after this storm.

I also want to take a moment to call your attention to two “good news” items from around the school.

First, our dental clinics have reopened to emergency and urgent care patients. Our operations are currently limited to emergency and urgent care services for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Advanced Education in General Dentistry services only, but we are thrilled to be back in our space—even if in a limited manner.

It should be noted that these services are being provided exclusively by residents and faculty of these departments. Students should not return to campus until further notification is provided.

I want to commend our support staff for their work to support the reopening! And special thanks to our scheduling staff who, during the course of our closure, have worked tirelessly to reschedule almost 8,000 patient appointments. Thank you!!

Finally, please take a moment to read this story about how our faculty helped a victim of a terrorist attack put his life back together. This is just one of the many examples of the life-changing work happening all around our school and yet another reason that I am so proud to be your dean.


Dean Chance

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been! It is hard to believe we are nearing the end of another academic year, but here we are, just over a week away from graduation. I hope that you are all staying safe and well during this time. Please know that I am thinking of you!

These have not been an easy few weeks and I know many of you will relish in the relatively slower pace that the summer brings. As faculty and staff begin to make plans for a “distanced” summer, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the many resources the university has to offer. From sleep management techniques, to building leadership skills, there is no shortage of resources for improving your own learning or wellness. Students may find these resources helpful as well!

Remote Learning Resources
The university has compiled a list of professional development classes and wellness activities for supervisors and staff to utilize.

Remote Wellness Resources
CWRU is building a campus culture that supports your health and well-being. Review remote wellness opportunities to help better manage work-life balance. Additionally, the ADA and Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Dentist Health and Wellness Committee has compiled a list COVID-19 Mental Health Resources specific to those in the dental field.

I hope that you will plan now to take advantage of some of these resources and I look forward to an exciting week ahead!


Dean Chance

To the Faculty, Staff and Students of the School of Dental Medicine:

The new state order issued last night expands activities permitted to take place in Ohio, including “non-essential surgeries and procedures” by “medical providers, including dentists.”

We have been preparing for this likely development since last week, and have determined that we will resume emergency and urgent care only on Monday, May 18.

This decision affects only faculty and staff. No dental students will be part of these initial re-opening efforts, and they should not return to campus.

In the meantime, we are working with the university to ensure that we have taken all necessary steps to preserve both patient and clinician safety prior to that date. These include acquisition of needed protective equipment and development of detailed pre-screening and screening protocols; the university also will be ensuring that our space arrangements and protocols follow social distancing requirements.

We will provide all of you additional information regarding these plans as they progress, as well as updates about when other clinic operations will begin. For now, we will be working most closely with the individuals who will be involved in direct care.

Please also know that we are cognizant that some students may wish to enter the School of Dental Medicine clinic building to retrieve personal belongings. At this time, students will not be permitted to access the building. We regret the inconvenience this may cause and will share additional details as soon as the building is accessible.

As always, I thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this complex new world! We will continue to share additional details as information becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please submit your questions on our web page.


Dean Chance 

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

As we close-in on another week of remote instruction, and as I reflect on the end of another school year, I'm again reminded of the physical distance between us. But as I think about the future, I’m filled with hope. Perhaps the following quote may be especially meaningful in this moment.

“Hard times may have put you down sometimes but they will not last forever. 
When all is said and done, you will be wise and strong.” 
– Anurag Prakash Ray

While we cannot all be on campus together right now, please know that I am thinking about you, and know that I hope this holds true for each of you.


Dean Chance 

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

As many of you are aware, there have been numerous rounds of discussions held by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) over the last several weeks pertaining to graduation guidelines. On Tuesday, the agency released its guidance on temporary flexibilities in accreditation standards for the Class of 2020. 

All dental schools are responsible for determining whether each member of the Class of 2020 is eligible for graduation based on these standards. During the coming weeks, the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine will be applying the temporary flexibility guidelines to our Class of 2020 students, residents and fellows, so that we can move forward with determining their eligibility for graduation.

In addition, on or before May 15, we will provide a full report to CODA on the curricular modifications applied to the Class of 2020 to ensure we comply with its accreditation and temporary flexibility standards. The groundwork we already had in place gave us a great start to complete the report ahead of schedule. I would like to recognize our faculty and staff for leading in that preparation. Without you, we are nothing. 

As we move forward, I want to reassure you that you, our students, are well-prepared. I believe the students of Case Western Reserve University are some of the most qualified students in the nation, and I am confident our student body will meet the challenges ahead. I look forward to sharing more details about our future as they emerge.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize our school for stepping up during this time of crisis. We recently donated a large amount of gloves and gowns to be used in the fight against COVID-19, and I am extremely grateful to all of our faculty, staff and students who have made other personal contributions. At times like this it is incredibly encouraging to see so many people come together to support a common cause and to defeat a common foe. If you have additional personal protective equipment you would like to donate, please complete this form

Finally, as we continue to remember third-year student Katie Nelson, I want to offer my deepest condolences to her friends, instructors and loved ones. Please know support is available for those in need. Students are encouraged to contact counseling services at 216.368.5872. Faculty and staff can access counseling by calling IMPACT Solutions at 800.227.6007.  


Dean Chance

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

As another week draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to recognize a feeling we all may be struggling with at points during our remote learning…a feeling of distance.

It’s been a difficult week for many of us as we remember the life of third-year student Katie Nelson. Though we are unable to be together physically, I know we will continue to celebrate Katie and her many accomplishments individually. I encourage you to overcome the distance, to reach out to one another, to call or chat via video, and pick each other up during this difficult time. 

Students who would like support are encouraged to contact counseling services at 216.368.5872. This line is staffed by a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Faculty and staff also can access counseling at any time by calling IMPACT Solutions at 1.800.227.6007; you can learn more about their programs at

In the 128-year history of our dental school, we have faced hard times and overcome adversities. We have always done it together, with an eye toward community and helping one another, and with a spirit of unity and togetherness. This is the spirit that will carry us through these hard times.

I’m encouraged by the spirit I see from our students who have come together to support #MedSupplyDrive, a nationwide effort to redirect unused personal protective equipment to where it’s needed most. And now, our team is partnering with local hospitals to create face masks from surgical sheets. This is an incredible testament to our students, their ingenuity and their desire to help our community. I am incredibly grateful for these efforts. If you are able, please sign-up to help. To learn more, including how you can donate or loan materials, email

To our D4 students, I know many of you have received calls from your residencies, who have already begun building their schedules. While we do not yet have a definitive date for graduation or completion, please know that we continue to have conversations with our partner agencies and we anticipate further directives from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) on or around April 13. All schools are faced with these unique circumstances and we are constantly sharing resources with each other to ensure no one is left behind.

For many of our students, staff, faculty and alumni the upcoming week is particularly auspicious as it marks a time when we typically spend time with family and friends to share stories, meals and gratitude. While this year our time may be different, please continue to find ways to stay connected, support each other and take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Better days are indeed ahead.

Have a healthy weekend,

Dean Chance

To the faculty, staff and students of the School of Dental Medicine:

As we approach the end of another week, I am writing again to provide you further updates related to ongoing developments involving COVID-19.

First, however, I want to remind you of the president’s two communications regarding the transition of the Health Education Campus into overflow patient space—in essence, turning Samson Pavilion into a surge hospital.

As a result, you should gather all needed belongings from the HEC’s main building before 5 p.m. TODAY (Friday, April 3), when you will lose card swipe access.

As of this time, the Cleveland Clinic has not indicated a need to use the dental clinic building.

Recent guidance from state, federal and CDC health officials recommends that dental facilities postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits, now and for the coming several weeks.

With these recommendations in mind, we have extended the closure of our dental clinics. Our dental clinics will now remain closed through at least Monday, May 4.

We continue to work closely with the university, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Ohio State Dental Board, the Ohio Department of Health and numerous other dental schools regarding potential paths forward.

During this time it is important that you remain where you are, and not return to campus. State and federal authorities emphasize the imperative of social distancing (6 feet of separation between individuals), and here in Ohio, we are under a statewide “stay-at-home” order until May 1. This week U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on TODAY, that the federal government's "30 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines amount to "a national stay-at-home order" through the same time period.

To share messages like this one, and provide an outlet for additional information, we have also created a COVID-19 web page. We hope you will explore the page, particularly our FAQs, and use the submission tool to send us any additional questions you may have.

Finally, I want to take a moment to specifically recognize our D4 students. We are fully aware that the current situation has left you feeling unsettled about your future. But I want to assure you that we are in this together! We are all, as are dental schools across the country, trying to figure out the best way forward. We are fully committed to your well-being and your professional needs, in that order.

Best wishes for a healthy and productive week,

Dean Chance

To the faculty, students and staff of the School of Dental Medicine:

During the last several days, we have received numerous questions from our campus community regarding the education, research and overall operation of the School of Dental Medicine during the COVID-19 crisis. I want to thank you all personally for sharing your concerns and suggestions. Please know that we are doing everything possible under the circumstances to safeguard both the health of our community and the professional concerns of our students.  

As I noted in a previous email, our Dental Clinics are closed through at least April 13. Please know we continue to follow all federal, state and CDC guidelines. We are also in constant contact with our campus leadership, the State Dental Board, the Commission on Dental Accreditation and numerous other dental schools regarding potential paths forward. Many students have asked how this closure might impact their ability to complete preclinical course work, clinical experiences and competencies. While we do not yet have their answers, we will provide updates as information becomes available.

Regarding the delivery of didactic materials, our faculty have quickly adapted to using the online platform and early results indicate it is effective. We will continue to look for ways to improve it and welcome your feedback as we progress.

To our students, I want to acknowledge how difficult this change has been for you, and I want to commend you for how well you’ve adapted. These are indeed extraordinary times and you have risen to the challenge!

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our staff and faculty. Our staff have worked tirelessly to reschedule thousands of patient appointments; our faculty have come forward with helpful suggestions, including working “non-traditional hours,” to help both students and patients.

Your work is to be commended and praised during these unsettling times. I thank you for being extraordinary role models for our institution and stepping up in a time of need.

Please stay tuned as the situation remains fluid and changes are constant. We will keep you informed as we work together to overcome this crisis.

Dean Chance

To the students, staff and faculty,

In the nearly 128 year history of our Dental School, we have overcome hardships including those that have threatened our existence. Every time challenged, we have come out stronger and better. Our ability to overcome difficult times is because of the unified determination and resolve of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.  We will not waver this time either.  

Over the last several days, our leadership has been working with various groups as we try to minimize the exposure of COVID-19. Following CDC and Federal guidelines, we have adopted social distancing and have limited faculty and staff in our facilities. We are in touch with several dental schools across the country as we all face similar challenges during this unique time.  The Commission on Dental Accreditation has been working with the US Department of Education so they can provide Dental Schools guidance on preclinical and clinical curriculum requirements.  We are also in touch with the Ohio State Dental Board, the Department of Health and our own Central Administration.    

We have made the hard decision to extend the closure of our clinics and preclinical curriculum (didactic courses that can be delivered online will continue) till April 13th. Additional details on clinical, preclinical, and didactic courses will be forthcoming in the next day or so. 

This fluid situation is constantly changing and we will keep you informed.

Thank you for your cooperation and support during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dean Chance 

To our faculty, staff, students and residents:

In light of ongoing developments involving COVID-19, we write to update you regarding our efforts to protect the health and safety of our entire school community and the patients we serve.

Yesterday we instituted a respiratory screening process (using the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) screening form).  Staff are calling patients and if their responses to questions indicate respiratory infection symptoms (such as cold, cough and/or fever), they will reschedule those patients. Staff are also asking patients regarding whether family members are displaying such symptoms; if patients answer the affirmative, staff will reschedule the patient out of an abundance of caution.

We also want to encourage each of you to follow the infection control guidelines from the CDC and American Dental Association that include: frequent washing of hands with soap and water (20 seconds); covering your cough or sneeze; disposing of tissues in a trash bin; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  Please check for all details and recommendations.

We understand these measures may cause an inconvenience to each of you and appreciate your patience and cooperation.

We will continue to monitor this situation and expect additional changes as it unfolds.  We will keep you informed.

Kenneth B. Chance