For University updates, please visit this page.

Here are ways to stay engaged, even if you aren’t on campus. 

-Be an active, helpful member of your home community. Volunteer to cover childcare needs for neighbors or to check in (by phone/from a distance) on the elderly. If you’re part of a religious community, see if there are ways that you can provide support through them. Check with organizations where you have volunteered in the past to see if you can step back into previous roles. 

-Register and volunteer through the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.

-Sign up to join the Contact Tracer Registry to assist with testing efforts near your home. 

-Look for online volunteer opportunities and other ways to help others. Some ideas include being trained as a Crisis Counselor for the Crisis Text Line, being a sighted volunteer for blind or low-vision individuals, or if you speak another language, signing up as a translator for Translators Without Borders. invites volunteers to provide online tutoring to “bridge gaps in language, higher education, and professional skills training for conflict-affected individuals”

Mother of Mercy, a free clinic under Catholic Charities in Northern Virginia, is seeking Spanish speaking volunteers to interpret on telemedicine calls. Interested students should complete the following form to proceed with registration

Volunteers are needed in Fairfax County to deliver groceries and meals, drive elderly and disabled persons to medical appointments, and serve as a virtual social visitor.   

-Learn To Be:  a national nonprofit connecting low-income K-12 students across the united states with volunteer tutors through an online platform. Students would have the choice to tutor in whatever subjects they would like from the comfort of their home on their own schedules. 

-Class about pandemics from Harvard 

-Class about community change in public health from Johns Hopkins 

-Class about essentials of global health from Yale

Ivy League free courses list via

-Learn more about Covid-19 from an emergency medicine doctor’s perspective

“An Examination of coronavirus-COVID-19”  from St. George’s University

-Medical School Headquarters YouTube:

-Georgetown offers free MOOCS including Bioethics, Biomedical Big Data, Globalization, or Genomic Medicine

Virtual clinical experiences will never replace in-person experiences, but they can be a useful way to explore healthcare professions safely during this time. Once the pandemic ends, it will still be very important for you to gain in-person experiences in order to be a competitive applicant. 

Virtual Shadowing Nano Course in Emergency Medicine:  The Virtual Shadowing course is a series of 5 classes in which your student will watch over the shoulder of one of our physicians, nurse practitioners, or PAs as s/he goes bedside in the ED to assess and diagnose a simulated patient.  The video is followed-up by a series of questions posed to the student and then a summary by the physician.  A short quiz on the topic addressed finalizes each class.  The first of the “e-shadowing” sessions is up and ready for student learning.   The virtual shadowing videos are free and if so desired, after successfully completing all five, students can apply for a Certificate of Completion from the University of Colorado School of Medicine for a $50 fee (covering our costs of producing the videos).  Those interested in viewing the first video series please email Bre McKercher at for a link.

Wilderness Medicine Speaker Series:

Medical Virtual Shadowing:

OT Shadowing:

PA Shadowing:

PT Shadowing:

Speech Language Pathology Shadowing:


Whereas the majority of health profession schools were flexible with students choosing P/F for the spring 2020 semester, some health profession schools have stated that they will not accept P/F for the fall 2020 semester (and others have not made any statements about how they will evaluate P/F this semester). Health profession schools are updating their policies and reacting as the pandemic progresses. It should be noted that while many undergraduate colleges/universities adopted P/F in the spring semester nationwide, not as many colleges/universities are adopting P/F for the fall semester, which might affect how health profession programs react. Prior to the pandemic, P/F was not acceptable for prerequisite courses, so it is very likely that the majority of health profession schools will not accept P/F for the fall 2020 semester.

You should use your best judgement in deciding whether to take classes P/F for the fall 2020 semester. If you do take any class P/F, you might need to explain in your application why you did so (especially since P/F is a choice at Mason) and if you choose P/F for a prerequisite class, you might need to retake it for a grade in a later semester in order to meet the requirements for health profession schools. Extenuating circumstances (financial, health) can always be explained in your application, but that doesn’t mean that all health profession programs will be lenient about P/F. Health profession schools certainly review P/F courses in the context of your entire transcript, so if you choose to take classes P/F, think about how your academic abilities will be conveyed through the rest of your transcript and future admissions test.

In general, health profession schools assume if you took a class P/F and passed it, that you received the lowest grade (C) in order to pass. If you’re getting an A or B in the class, it’s always better to take it for the grade.

Official updates about applications, tests, and the application cycle from Health Profession Associations/Schools are available here.

Official guidelines will be updated on school websites, but the following unofficial documents outline how schools plan to evaluate P/F.

Health Profession Schools are still deliberating over how they will evaluate P/F prerequisite courses and official guidelines will be released in the coming weeks. It’s likely many schools will be flexible and allow P/F for this semester, even though that is typically not allowed for prereq classes. Until official guidelines are released, it is important to be aware of the implications of taking prereq classes P/F as a pre-health student. Ultimately, one course/one semester is a small part of your academic performance, but you may be asked to explain in your application why you chose to take the course(s) P/F and schools will likely look more closely at graded coursework in previous and later semesters and your standardized test performance. If you are doing well in course(s) and know that you’ll get an A or B, I recommend taking them for graded credit.

Keep in mind that universities across the US (including Health Profession Schools) are adapting to online learning and facing challenges and uncertainty. As a future healthcare provider, you will often be required to perform under stress and unexpected circumstances, just as you are this semester. Your mental and physical health is important, so please be patient and wait for more information to be released, and then weigh the best option for you.

While most health professional schools would prefer you to take classes in person vs. online (especially for science classes), they are being flexible during this time and most will accept online coursework.