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Physical therapy students get needed in-person instruction

University of Dayton students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program returned to campus, following strict health guidelines approved by public health officials, for two weeks of in-person instruction to master the hands-on skills they need to succeed in clinical internships this fall.

“The curriculum for physical therapy involves hands-on skills: mobilizing someone’s neck or manipulating their spine,” said physical therapy department chair Philip Anloague. “With the suspension of in-person classes this spring, we moved much content online and created videos to teach important skills. But at the end of the day, before we can certify that our students have the effectiveness and ability to safely perform these skills on real people, we need to see them in person to check that their hand placement is correct, they’re using appropriate force, and in the proper direction.”

The precautions for the boot camp follow CDC guidelines, were approved by public health officials and mirror best practices established by physical therapy clinics to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Before starting the program on May 18, the 60 participating students logged their temperatures daily and checked for symptoms for 14 days. 

During the boot camp, students daily continued to monitor their temperatures and check for possible symptoms. They were assigned a time and specific location to enter the building and a dedicated lab area to limit their contact with others. Extra classrooms were converted to allow for distance between students’ treatment tables. Everyone was provided personal protection equipment, including face masks, face shields, gloves and gowns, when needed. Deep cleaning was conducted between the morning and afternoon sessions, and at the end of each day.

“I know the faculty have done everything in their power to keep us safe upon returning to the classroom,” said Alex Nagy, class president for the 2021 cohort. “My classmates and I are excited that we are able to maintain our projected graduation date due to the implementation of this boot camp. We are one step closer to making a difference in the world."

The boot camp is the first on-campus program since all classes went online in March to protect the campus community amid the pandemic. It's the first of several pilots that will be conducted on campus to allow the University to work through approaches for safely conducting hands-on courses in the fall. 

“The success of this program will guide how UD, as well as other universities, manage clinically-based courses this fall, along with other programs in which hands-on experiential learning is required, including the performing arts in which bodily movement and physical proximity are essential elements of the course work,” said Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Paul Benson. 

University leaders continue to make safely reopening campus in the fall their highest priority. 


News and Communications Staff