COVID-19 Response FAQ
April 25, 2020
Dear Birthwise Community,

As the world initially began to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, we were in sprint mode. We made quick decisions focused on reducing risks in the short term. Now is the time to settle in for the marathon.

As midwives and midwifery students, you are skilled at being flexible and adapting to what challenges present themselves to you, all while holding space for the variety of emotions and experiences that come with being human. In my short time with Birthwise, I have seen the level of compassion, honesty and resilience you all display. It is an honor to work with you.

While we cannot predict the future, I want to remind us that Birthwise has always been an innovator in midwifery education, and has always been grounded in our community. We draw on these strengths as we look ahead at how Birthwise will thrive in our new world (because it most definitely will).

Be well,
Where can I get updated information?
In March, Birthwise created a COVID Response website.

We encourage you to visit the website and check your junk folder to make sure you've seen the emails we've sent (all emails are listed on the website).

We also encourage all students, faculty, preceptors and alumni to use trusted websites as sources for information. We've linked our favorites on the webpage.
When will we be back on campus?
Online through July 31
  • Our board and school leadership have made the decision to hold all classes online through the end of July.
  • Graduation has been cancelled and June Homecoming has been modified (check your emails for details)

Fall Semester Plans
  • The board will be discussing plans to reopen Birthwise in the fall at their meeting in May
  • The Academic Staff have been developing layers of contingency plans around class schedules, testing, etc. to respond to whatever decision is made
  • We are paying close attention to state and national trends and recommendations regarding opening the school
  • We will continue to update you as we know more
  • Please know that we are prioritizing the health and safety of our community and the communities from which we each come. We recognize that the sudden move to online education has been challenging in so many ways, but it is also amazing to see how we're able to continue towards our mutual goal of increasing the number of skilled and compassionate direct-entry midwives serving their communities.

  • We are still under a stay at home order in Maine, and all staff are working remotely.
  • The best way to reach us is via email. We are happy to set up a phone or zoom call with you.
I'm really sad to miss Graduation- are there any plans to celebrate graduates before June, 2021?
We are really sad too! Graduation is a highlight of our year.

The academic team and school leadership are working through some ideas to honor and celebrate our graduates in a special way. Stay tuned for more information!
I was hoping to graduate early, is that still possible?
Those who were planning to graduate in June 2020 have been contacted with specific instructions surrounding graduation.

Those who would normally graduate in June 2021 but were hoping to graduate early have be contacted as well. We may or may not be able to accommodate early graduation.

We are prioritizing on time graduation for as many students as possible. Please check your email for details from Robin and Beth.
What training and resources are available to faculty?
Zoom Training
Birthwise staff have held several hours of zoom training and meetings for faculty to provide technical support and tips for teaching.

Tech Hosts
We hired tech hosts to support and facilitate the online learning environment as our faculty transitioned to teaching online. We will keep this service available as needed, especially at the start of a session or for faculty who wish for additional support.

On call support from staff
Acadia has been on call for all faculty since we moved online in March, and has worked closely with faculty to brainstorm ways to deliver their classes online, and manage the technology required to do so.

Additional resources- articles, webinars, technology
Our Academic Team has also been staying up to date on tips and tricks, curating a list of articles, webinars and other resources. These have been shared with faculty in a series of emails. We have also made the carriage house available to faculty who are without power or internet due to inclement weather or rural locations.

Preceptorship supports
Robin has been in close communication with Preceptors, providing updated, evidence based guidance to support safe practices during the pandemic, and to encourage effective communication between students and preceptors as they navigate this new normal together.

Students: if you have had faculty that did a great job with their transition to teaching online, let us know! We want to highlight their good work and invite them to share tips with other Faculty.

Faculty/Preceptors: if you'd like additional support, please reach out to us! We are committed to ensuring that online delivery of our program is successful for you and our students, and that we're able to continue to offer preceptorship even as many other clinical programs are closing completely.
What resources are available to students?
Web resources
Visit our COVID response page for links to resources we've collected for you. Know of a great resource missing from our list, or want us to find something specific? Email Katie!

CARES Grant Funds
Birthwise has been awarded federal funds from the CARES grant to provide direct financial relief to students. We will have more information in May about when those funds will be disbursed, and how.

Research Access and Library Resources
With campus closed, we recognize that our students are missing access to our library. We've teamed up with the University of Southern Maine system to provide a few added resources. Keep an eye on your email for more information!

Advisor Support
Academic advisors have been reaching out to students via email and phone call for regular check ins. They will continue to do so.

Open Forums/Community Check-ins
Please check the Events calendar! We have added open forums to increase our opportunities for connection across cohorts. Please tune in to chat with Katie. We'll check in on each other, and Katie will be there to listen to your concerns, and provide answers to any questions you have as we navigate these times.


Birthwise has endorsed this statement by FAM
ICM guidance on pregnancy and COVID-19

Resources for Health and Wellness
NAMI resources and support for mental health
CDC information on mental health and coping

Reliable COVID-19 information disease surveillance
CDC COVID-19 resources
CDC guide for limiting disease spread
SEVIS guidance on COVID-19
WHO COVID-19 updates