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ECFMG|FAIMER Updates on Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

ECFMG|FAIMER is closely monitoring the development of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, as well as ongoing guidance from the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, governments, and local public health authorities. In keeping with this guidance, and our strong commitment to the health and safety of our employees, clients, and the public, we have made temporary changes to certain services that may impact your school and its students and graduates. We want to make you aware of these changes and confirm how you can connect with us during this challenging time. Finally, we want to let you know that we have transitioned most of our employees to working remotely. This will not only safeguard the well-being of employees, but also help to ensure the continuity of our services.

Temporary Suspension of USMLE® Step 2 CS Testing

The administration of Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) has been suspended and all Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC) test centers are closed as of Monday, March 16, 2020 until at least Friday, April 10, 2020. Given the fluid nature of this situation, please be aware these dates are subject to change. Please monitor www.usmle.org for updates.

Examinees whose testing appointments have been canceled as a result of the temporary closure will be contacted by CSEC Support Staff to assist with rescheduling appointments. Once the test centers resume operations, the USMLE program will open additional testing appointments to help meet increased, time-sensitive testing demand.

Closure of Prometric Test Centers

Prometric, which administers USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) in its network of test centers around the world, has closed certain test centers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prometric announced on March 17 that test centers in the United States and Canada will be closed for a period of 30 days, beginning March 18.

In response, the USMLE program is extending exam eligibility periods for Step 1 and Step 2 CK beginning with those that expired in March. All eligibility periods for examinees who currently have a scheduling permit with an unexpired eligibility period ending in 2020 will be extended to have an end date of December 2020, regardless of the country in which they are testing.

Eligibility periods will be extended automatically, requiring no action from examinees. Extensions will be processed in order of expiration date, with all extension processing expected to be completed by the week of April 13. Examinees will receive a notification and new scheduling permit when their eligibility extension has been processed. Examinees will need to use the new permit once received.

Please check the USMLE website and USMLE social media for updates.

Waiver of Fees for Eligibility Period Extensions and Testing Region Changes for Step 1 and Step 2 CK

The sponsors of the USMLE program (Federation of State Medical Boards and National Board of Medical Examiners®) have agreed, in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, to waive fees for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK eligibility period extensions and testing region changes through December 31, 2020.

This temporary fee waiver is intended to give examinees flexibility in scheduling examinations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Changes to Medical School Programs or Policies Resulting from COVID-19

ECFMG|FAIMER appreciates that the health and safety of your students is of the highest priority to you during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that you may need to make certain temporary accommodations or other changes to your programs and policies to enable the appropriate continuation and completion of their education. You may choose, for example, to conduct classes remotely using on-line distance learning tools. According to ECFMG|FAIMER policy, a medical school must have a physical campus and conduct its main educational operations in the country where it is recognized. However, in light of the unique circumstances brought about by COVID-19, conducting distance learning classes temporarily will not negatively impact the eligibility of current students for ECFMG Certification. Please also note that ECFMG|FAIMER does not set requirements or times for graduation; this is done at the sole discretion of the medical school.

Please contact the Medical Education Resources team of ECFMG|FAIMER at Deansbox@ecfmg.org if you have any questions or concerns regarding changes to your educational programs or policies that may impact the eligibility of your students and graduates for ECFMG Certification.

Stay Connected with ECFMG|FAIMER to Avoid Delays in Processing for Your Students/Graduates

ECFMG|FAIMER is working to maintain connection with institutions around the world to ensure we are able to provide continued service for the international medical graduates that we serve.

Please contact ECFMG|FAIMER to let us know of any changes to the status of school officials who interact with us, in particular those that provide the following services:

  • Status Verification. Verifying the status of your students/graduates who apply to ECFMG for USMLE.
  • Credentials Verification. Verifying the authenticity of the medical education credentials of your students/graduates.

If your school is experiencing any challenges or delays in verifying credentials, or in issuing transcripts and diplomas, as a result of COVID-19, please reach out to us as soon as possible so that we can work with you to develop alternate processes to support your students/graduates.

If your school is still verifying paper credentials through postal or other mail delivery services, we strongly encourage you to sign up for our electronic Credentials Verification program. Electronic Credentials Verification eliminates paper credentials from the verification process, along with postal and transit delays. Verifications are completed on-line through the secure ECFMG Medical School Web Portal, enabling medical school officials to verify credentials without needing to be at the school’s physical location. Electronic Credentials Verification is offered at no cost to medical schools. It is a much faster and more convenient way to verify credentials, especially during these challenging times. For more information or to sign up, please e-mail emswpadmin@ecfmg.org. If your school is unable to participate in our electronic Credentials Verification program, please let us know so we can work with you to explore other options.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we encourage you to monitor the News page of the ECFMG website for important updates that may impact your students and graduates.

ECFMG|FAIMER extends best wishes for health and well-being to you and your colleagues.