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UABSO Family:
This time in our society has proven to be challenging for us all and I wanted to take this time to let you know we are thinking about you, your families, and your practices. I also want to provide an update about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected daily operations at the UAB School Optometry. Because this is an unprecedented situation, the school is experiencing frequent changes and disruptions that affect our students, faculty, and staff. Having said that, we are a family, and while small, UABSO is mightier than ever!
Our Students
  • There will be no more in-person/on-site classes for the duration of the spring semester, and faculty has transitioned to teaching classes online only.
  • The NBEO postponed Part 1 of the boards, affecting third year students, and has closed the Part 3 testing center, affecting several 4th years. 
  • UAB suspended clinical care for internal and external students for the remainder of the Spring semester. Therefore, students will not be able to return to externship sites this Spring, and will be completing an alternate, case-based online curriculum.
  • Vision Science Graduate Program students will continue their research, primarily from home, while new research projects on campus are not permitted. Research responsibilities/opportunities are occurring according to the specific guidelines provided by advisors.
  • All public defenses for VSGP students will only be open to student mentor and committee in person. Others can view via Zoom and are welcome.
  • Instead of on-campus commencement ceremonies this spring, UAB will host virtual/alternative commencement ceremonies. However, students will be given the option to walk at a later graduation ceremony if they choose, possibly in conjunction with alumni weekend.
UAB Eye Care
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, UAB Eye Care is only able to provide essential patient services. Annual eye exams are on hold at this time. Patients with an eye or vision emergency have been directed to call the on-call doctor. Less urgent needs are being evaluated using telephone visits and telehealth video conferences. Doctors are also communicating with patients through the patient portal. Clinic staff is responding to requests for prescription refills, contact lens orders, questions about appointments, and other concerns.
Continuing Education
The Continuing Education office is working on creating quality online CE opportunities for alumni and friends. Two live webinars are being offered April 1 and April 2 for 1 hour of COPE CE credit and plan to offer more courses in the coming months. Also, please plan to attend the Fall Continuing Education seminar at UAB’s Volker Hall on August 21-23 for 18 hours of live continuing education.  
Emergency Relief Funds Established
UAB has taken unprecedented measures for these unprecedented times. In addition to changes to the academic experience, a limited business model calling for most employees to work from home and strict social distancing guidelines have been implemented. 
If you would like to contribute to our efforts to combat coronavirus and its impact, three funds are in place for you to do so at www.uab.edu/news/coronavirus/giving:
  • The UAB Coronavirus Response Support Fund supports COVID-19 research and treatment development, patient and clinical care support, supplies and resources.
  • The Student Government Association COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund provides relief to students who need emergency aid due to unexpected expenses caused by the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
  • Our Benevolent Fund continues assisting UAB employees in need through our Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, including those affected by the pandemic. Your gifts to these funds will make a big difference in the lives of patients as well as our students and employees hit particularly hard by this crisis.
The UAB School of Optometry is fortunate enough to be part of UAB and the UA System, which are providing expert guidance and support during these exceptional circumstances.
We know you too are facing your own personal and professional disruptions due to this unprecedented experience. We hope that you, your family, and friends are safe and healthy during this time. If there is anything the school or the alumni office can do for you, please reach out. We are here for you and UABSO is behind you in all that you do.
Thank you for all the support you provide to our school, our students, and the profession.   
Stay healthy and be safe. 
UABSO, small but mighty!
Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO
Dean, UAB School of Optometry