COVID-19

September 2021 Semester
Saba University School of Medicine Information 

Saba University School of Medicine ("SUSOM") is excited to welcome all students back to the Saba campus for the September 2021 semester. The below addresses questions you may have in more detail, however the school expects all students to return to the campus in time to attend the first day of classes in September. Additionally, consistent with the school's priority of protecting the health of our community, including the Saba community, vaccinations will be required for all returning students, faculty, staff and administrators. Given the logistics of vaccination, and traveling to Saba (including government entry approval), students should plan their vaccinations immediately (if not already complete), and book their travel as soon as possible. Availability of flights to Saba is often limited at the start of a school term. This will be especially true for this coming September semester due to the number of students returning. You may have to arrive on Saba prior to the start of the term in order to be in classes at the start of the term.

Below is additional information regarding the return to Saba for the September 2021 semester. If you have any additional questions, please contact returning-students@saba.edu.

Campus vs Online

Will the September semester start in person or online?

All students will be welcomed back to in-person learning on campus on Saba for the September term. It is mandatory to be on campus, in person from the first day of the September semester except as discussed below. Attendance will be taken from the first day of classes forward, and any absences will be recorded in accordance with the school's attendance policy.

Our priority is protecting your health, and that of the Saba community, by preventing the spread of the disease. As part of our plan for a safe return to campus life, COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all returning students, faculty, staff, and administrators. We urge all students who have an opportunity to get fully vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. We remain committed to providing you with all the resources and support needed to be successful.

Will virtual learning be an option?

While our expectation is that all students will eventually return to campus, we also recognize that the pandemic, travel, and vaccination delivery is an evolving situation. Although our goal is to return all students to in-person learning as quickly as possible, we will be reasonable in our consideration of exceptions to in-person education and temporary use of online education for the September semester.

SUSOM remains committed to helping all our students to continue to make academic progress, and recognizes that certain issues are beyond the control of students. As such, students may request exemptions from the in-person learning requirement under certain circumstances that prevent them from coming to the campus by the start of the September semester. Decisions regarding any such exemption are final, and are at the University's sole discretion. Circumstances that may make students eligible for such exemptions include:

  • Lack of access to vaccinations in the country where you currently reside
  • Lack of travel visas, passports, and flights from some countries
  • Other situations, hardships, and reasons that may require students to remain online for the September semester

Information on how to request a temporary exemption will be provided in the weeks ahead.

If I have to remain virtual for the September 2021 semester, how will it be different from the usual in person program?

SUSOM will continue to provide all of our new and returning students with the best learning experience possible. Whether on campus or online, we are committed to providing you with the resources and support you will need and delivering the same level of education that has led to strong outcomes for the past 20+ years, such as performing well on the USMLE and excellence in postgraduate residency attainment. We have developed an engaging distance learning curriculum with live courses and personalized academic support to provide students with the tools and resources needed to succeed.

COVID-19 And Vaccination Requirements

For the most up-to-date information regarding coronavirus on Saba and the actions being taken in accordance with the situation, please visit the Saba Government website (https://www.sabagov.com/covid-19-information).

Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for access to campus?

Yes. As part of our plan for a safe return to campus life, COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all returning students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

What safety measures and protocols have been put in place on campus to prevent the spread of the virus?

The University has implemented the appropriate infection control public health measures to protect the Saba University School of Medicine community on campus. While the University community will be vaccinated, we continue to encourage students, faculty and staff to follow safety guidelines as directed by the Saba government.

The re-opening of Saba remains a phased approach and is continuously monitored by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).

The situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid, and the Island Government of the Public Entity Saba reserves the right to change any conditions at all times when the circumstances require such.

With over 85% of the population of Saba currently fully vaccinated against COVID, and no cases of local transmission of COVID on Saba in the past year, the United States Centers for Disease Control places Saba in its safest category of countries (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/covid-1/coronavirus-saba). As of May 1st, anyone traveling to the island from high-risk areas that are fully vaccinated does not have to quarantine. Non-vaccinated persons traveling from high-risk areas must quarantine for 5 days.

Persons under the age of 18 traveling from high-risk areas do not have to quarantine but will have to stay out of school, daycare, afterschool care, and other social activities 5 days after arrival.

Does the student health insurance cover COVID treatment and testing?

Yes, COVID-19 medical treatment is covered and considered like any other medical treatment. COVID-19 testing is covered if deemed medically necessary (does not include testing required for travel). The SUSOM-sponsored health plan covers accident or illness as described in the student health insurance brochure.

Travel Requirements

What are the travel requirements for Saba?

The Saba Government publishes guidelines for travel on their website (https://www.sabagov.nl/covid-19-information). Students should visit this website for the most up-to-date information regarding travelling to Saba. Please fill in the entry form (http://www.sabatourism.com/travel-requirements) 72 hours (max) before travel. You should receive a response within 24 hours of your submission. Please familiarize yourself with all entry requirements before completing the entry form. This should be done prior to booking any travel. The COVID-19 Travel Requirements for Saba include:

  • An approved travel exemption document from the authorities on Saba
  • A negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test if traveling from high-risk areas, within 72 hours of arrival
  • When traveling to Saba via St. Maarten, ensure you meet St. Maarten's entry requirements
  • If you are vaccinated, please ensure you have your vaccination card

As of May 1st, quarantine requirements were reduced from 10 to 5 days, based on the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). For vaccinated travelers, there is no quarantine requirement.

In addition to the Saba Government related quarantine and entry procedures, students should also check if any other governmental travel restrictions apply to their planned itinerary.

Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to Saba. There are regularly scheduled flights to St. Maarten from Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Montreal/Toronto (beginning end of November), Amsterdam and Paris. Winair is currently operating flights from St. Maarten to Saba on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and charter flights are available. There is also a boat service from St. Maarten to Saba (Edge Ferry).

Saba Government country risk categorization

The Saba Government categorizes countries into three risk level groups: low risk; banned countries; and high risk. Students should check the Saba Travel Requirements site (http://www.sabatourism.com/travel-requirements) for the most up to date list of country risk categorizations. As of May 14, 2021 both the United States of America and Canada were considered high risk.

I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Will I need to quarantine when I get to Saba?

No. Vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine upon entry to Saba at this point.

Are there quarantine sites on Saba?

Yes, certain hotels are approved sites. In addition, the Saba Government allows people to quarantine in their own homes / apartments upon approval which is generally granted.

Application Process/Requirements

Will SUSOM admissions requirements/deadlines become more flexible or change as a result of COVID-19 disruptions? How will this impact my application review and decision on acceptance?

Our Admissions Committee has made a number of accommodations to provide extra flexibility to students affected by COVID-19. While there are no changes to our admission standards, the Admissions Committee understands that many external examinations have been canceled or postponed during this pandemic. We continue to monitor the changes and the availability of external test administrations and are prepared to offer conditional acceptances and to exercise reasonable flexibility in making admissions decisions.

Please contact your admissions officer or admissions@saba.edu for specific details.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been disruptions in the administration of the MCAT examination. Will SUSOM make any changes to the application requirements as a result of these disruptions?

While SUSOM requires the MCAT for US citizens, permanent residents and nationals, we understand that COVID-19 may have interfered with your ability to take the MCAT. As such, SUSOM has waived the requirement to submit MCAT scores for all students for the September 2021 semester. Students who have taken the test, however are still encouraged to submit their MCAT scores.

If my undergraduate institution has switched to virtual learning during this pandemic, will that affect my admissibility?

We understand that the disruptions caused by the coronavirus may have changed the course of your education. Please be assured that your candidacy will not be negatively impacted by the fact that your labs/lectures were conducted virtually.

Thank you,
Saba University School of Medicine


Return to Campus

Saba University School of Medicine ("SUSOM") continues to conduct in-person classes, and barring any changes in circumstances, the campus will remain open for the September 2021 semester. Further, according to local government, there are currently no COVID-19 cases on the island of Saba (and have not been since April 2020). The Saba government has also relaxed certain quarantine requirements. Details of the new requirements are attached here to. Businesses on the island are open, and there are no COVID-19 related restrictions on movement or social activities. During the May 2021 semester, the Saba government also provided vaccinations for students and faculty on the island.

SUSOM strongly recommends that both new and current students return to the campus as soon as is possible, and in fact, the majority of students are either on campus or have plans to do so in the near future. The school strongly believes in the value of in person learning, and believe it is a significant advantage to medical students to be in person, on campus. While SUSOM is offering the option of remote learning during the May 2021 semester, it is our expectation that all students will be on campus for the September 2021 term. The school further expects that all students who are able to return to campus for the May 2021 term do so.

We will provide additional updates to students as available.

We look forward to another successful semester for all students, and look forward to welcoming more students back to campus.

For assistance with returning to campus, please send questions to returning-students@saba.edu.

Thank you,
Saba University School of Medicine


May 2021 Semester

Saba University School of Medicine (“SUSOM”) continues to conduct in person classes, and barring any changes in circumstances, the campus will remain open for the May 2021 semester. Further, according to local government, there are currently no COVID-19 cases on the island of Saba (and have not been since April 2020). Businesses on the island are open, and there are no COVID-19 related restrictions on movement or social activities.

SUSOM strongly recommends that both new and current students return to the campus for the May 2021 semester. SUSOM, however, is not requiring students to return to the campus, and will still offer the option of remote learning for the May 2021 semester.

We will provide additional updates to students as available via this website.

We look forward to another successful semester for all students, and look forward to welcoming more students back to campus.


January 2021 Semester

Saba University School of Medicine (“SUSOM”) has been conducting in person classes since the beginning of the September semester, and barring any changes in circumstances, the campus will remain open for the January 2021 semester. Further, according to local government, there are currently no COVID-19 cases on the island of Saba (and have not been since April 2020). Businesses on the island are open, and there are no COVID-19 related restrictions on movement or social activities.

SUSOM strongly recommends that both new and current students return to the campus for the January 2021 semester. SUSOM, however, is not requiring students to return to the campus, and will still offer the option of remote learning for the January 2021 semester.

For students coming to Saba for the January 2021 semester, the Saba government has outlined a number of entry and quarantine requirements related to COVID-19. A summary of the current process includes:

  • Travelers should first contact info@sabagov.nl for permission to enter the country (they will also provide current details on requirements for tests and quarantine). This should be done prior to booking any travel
  • Negative Covid-19 test required 120 hours before departure from home country.
  • Quarantine for 14 days after arrival culminating with another negative COVID-19 test. Quarantine in your home (or dorm) is permitted, with food and supplies ordered and paid for by you and delivered by the Public Health department.
In addition to the Saba Government related quarantine and entry procedures, students should also check if any other governmental travel restrictions apply to their planned itinerary.

Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to Saba. There are regularly scheduled flights to St. Maarten from Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Montreal/Toronto (beginning end of November), Amsterdam and Paris. Winair is currently operating flights from St. Maarten to Saba on Fridays and Saturdays, and charter flights are available. However, there is currently no boat service from St. Maarten to Saba. The school is working with airlines and boat operators to create additional alternatives, and will provide any updates as available.

Due to limitations on the number of people the government will allow to quarantine at one time, student arrival will likely be staggered. Students planning on coming to Saba should contact info@sabagov.nl as soon as possible. In the coming days we will ask your intention regarding traveling to Saba. New students, and students coming to Saba for the first time, are reminded that in addition to the COVID-19 related requirements, they must also complete the normal incoming student immigration requirements communicated by the admissions office. For housing questions, please contact the school at 978-862-9600 x221, or housing@saba.edu. If you have any questions as you plan your return to Saba, please contact the school at returning-students@saba.edu.

We will provide additional updates to students as available via this website.

We look forward to another successful semester for all students, and look forward to welcoming more students back to campus.

September 2020 Semester

The Saba University School of Medicine (“SUSOM”) campus is currently open, and barring any changes in circumstances, we expect the campus to remain open for the September 2020 semester.  As previously announced, we will provide simultaneous in-person and synchronous remote learning for the September 2020 semester.  This arrangement is designed to accommodate a diverse range of situations in which students might find themselves because of public health considerations, travel restrictions, or personal health circumstances.  Given the current state of affairs and challenges associated with international travel, SUSOM is not requiring students to return to the campus for the September 2020 semester.  Students have the option of attending class in-person on campus, or continuing via remote learning for the September 2020 semester.

For students coming from abroad to Saba for the September 2020 semester, the Saba government is in the process of formulating a number of entry and quarantine requirements related to COVID-19.  A brief summary of these are likely to include:

  • Negative Covid-19 test required 72 hours before departure from home country
  • Covid-19 test upon arrival to Saba
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival on Saba

Students wishing to come to Saba should submit their names to the university’s registrar by July 31st so that the university can supply those names to government.  Students are responsible for arranging their own travel and housing of Saba.  New students are reminded that in addition to the COVID-19 related requirements, they must also complete the normal incoming student immigration requirements communicated by the admissions office.

In addition to the Saba related quarantine and entry procedures, students should also be aware of any governmental travel restrictions that may impact their planned itinerary.

We look forward to another successful semester for all students whether they choose to come to Saba, or continue via remote learning.


September 2020 Semester Update

Saba University School of Medicine (“SUSOM”) is committed to providing students with the highest quality medical education to further students’ goals of becoming practicing clinicians. The faculty, staff and administration are in the process of developing plans to allow the opening of the Saba campus for this coming fall term. As we embark on this journey, our overarching goal is to ensure that our community members feel comfortable and safe as we resume campus operations. As we reopen, our actions will be guided by public health considerations and best practices around COVID-19.
Assuming the resumption of international travel, and appropriate governmental approvals and conditions SUSOM plans to fully reopen the Saba campus for the Fall 2020 semester.
SUSOM is seeking ways to establish modes of academic engagement that will allow our students to achieve their academic objectives while maintaining a safe environment. To this end, our goal is to provide simultaneous in-person and synchronous remote teaching to create a flexible learning experience designed to accommodate a diverse range of situations in which students might find themselves because of public health considerations, travel restrictions, or personal health circumstances. We expect that this system will allow students who are unable to return to campus this fall to fully participate and be current in their studies when they do return to campus. Some of the specifics are still being worked out. Please check back regularly as we will post the latest updates here.
For those upperclassmen who are in the clinical medicine portion of the program, as our affiliated hospitals begin to resume core and elective clerkships, you will be scheduled as they become available. Until such time we will continue the remote learning activities presently being offered by the university.


NBME Testing Announcement

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the school’s administration of the various NBME exams has been disrupted. We are examining options that will work technologically, are equitable and that maintain the integrity of the exams. As soon as we have finalized our plans we will provide further update.


June 2020 Commencement Ceremony **Update

COVID-19 June Commencement Announcement

As previously announced, this year’s in-person commencement ceremony regrettably needed to be canceled. We would like to invite all of this year’s graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff to an online reciting of the Hippocratic Oath on June 6th at 10am EST. Details of how to access this event will be forthcoming by email and on the COVID-19 page of the Saba University School of Medicine website. This oath is one of the earliest expressions of medical ethics in the medical profession and signifies your transition into the profession of a physician. As mentioned previously, all students and their families are invited to participate in the 2021 commencement ceremony.

June 2020 Graduation **Update


COVID-19 Graduation Announcement

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is with great regret that we cancel the June 2020 Commencement Ceremony for Saba University School of Medicine in Providence, RI. This has been a very difficult decision as we understand the significance of this ceremony to the graduates, families and friends, as well as members of our faculty and administration. However, given the uncertainty surrounding travel and the situations that face communities around the world, we feel that holding this year’s Commencement Ceremony, although desirable, may in fact be infeasible. For this reason, we feel it is necessary to cancel this year’s ceremony. We realize how disappointing this news is for all of you. We continue to look for alternatives to holding a commencement ceremony in person. For those of you and your families who would like to take part in the 2021 Commencement Ceremony, we invite you to do so.

May 2020 Semester ** Update

COVID-19 May Semester Announcement

We have made the decision to deliver Basic Science courses on our virtual learning platform for the May semester beginning with the term start date of Monday, May 4, 2020. We have temporarily transitioned the Basic Science portion of the program to this virtual learning platform in order to seamlessly continue supporting our student’s education, while they remain in the safety of their homes. We are well-prepared to deliver an interactive and seamless virtual learning experience, and will continue to enroll and start our programs without interruption. Clinical students should consult with the Clinical Department about their May 2020 semester clerkship schedule.

COVID-19 Update

Saba University School of Medicine ("SUSOM") remains committed to the safety of our students, faculty, staff, colleagues and members of the community at large. As such, we would like to make you aware of actions the school is taking at this time. SUSOM will continue to provide updates as the situation and circumstances demand.

As always, our school is committed to ensuring the safety of our community. We also remain committed to our mission "To provide students of diverse backgrounds who exhibit a passion for the field of medicine with the opportunity to acquire the medical and clinical expertise needed for a successful career as a practicing clinician along with the skills and confidence needed to critically evaluate and apply new information." Consistent with this mission the school is taking all steps available to ensure the safety of our students while continuing their medical education as possible given the realities of the situation. The following will outline:

  • COVID-19
  • Resources available regarding COVID-19
  • COVID-19 on Saba (No reported cases)
  • Basic Science students
  • Clinical Medicine students
  • May 2020 term


COVID-19


COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • shortness of breath

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently

Resources available regarding COVID-19


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides information on the virus and how to protect yourself, as well as the situation in the United States and updates at their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

The Canadian Government also provides information on the virus and information specific to Canada on its website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html.


Basic Science Students


On March 18, 2020 the Government of the Netherlands ordered all educational institutions, including those on Saba, to cease classroom activities. While certain students have chosen to return home, others have elected to remain on Saba.

As a result of this situation SUSOM will be offering the Basic Science portion of our program (semesters 1-5) for remote learners via the following modalities

  • Asynchronously via Panopto, a lecture capture video platform
  • Synchronously via Zoom, a video conferencing platform
  • Exams will be administered via ExamSoft, a secure assessment platform, and through Prometric, secure testing centers if open

Additional information about how to access these resources and how students can interact with the faculty will be made available directly to students. For students who elected to return home SUSOM is working with local officials and transportation providers to facilitate their travel from Saba. These matters stand to be resolved shortly, and we will provide updates as available.


Clinical Medicine Students


SUSOM is diligently working with its clinical sites in the United States to help ensure that students can continue their clinical education throughout this situation. We remind students to follow the protocols and recommendations in place at their clinical site. As with all our students, we advise them to take all precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We also request that clinical students update the clinical department on any known exposures to SUSOM students or faculty as soon as possible.

Education at a number of our clinical sites has been disrupted by COVID-19. To the extent possible SUSOM is developing workarounds to minimize any disruptions to students’ education. The school will prioritize students who are nearing graduation to help ensure that these students can complete their clinical education in time for scheduled graduation.

SUSOM appreciates the efforts of the entire community through this challenging time. We will continue to monitor the situation both on Saba and at our clinical sites, and provide updates as available.