The following updates to previous extensions and postponements were approved at the March 2021 meeting of the ARC/STSA Board of Directors in consideration of the health and safety of surgical patients, students, educators, and volunteers during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- On-ground Accreditation Fundamentals for Educator (AFE) workshops have been discontinued through December 31, 2021. Virtual AFE workshops continue to be offered throughout 2021. To register or for more information, click here.
- On-ground evaluations have been discontinued through December 31, 2021.
- Virtual Site Visits for initial and continuing accreditation will be scheduled through December 31, 2021, for those programs that qualify. Programs that were due for continuing accreditation visits in 2020 and 2021 will be contacted with more details. On-ground site visits will be reinitiated once the ARC/STSA has determined that it is safe to conduct visits on campuses following the emergency period. See VSV policies for initial and continuing accreditation.
- Submission of complete 2020 and 2021 Annual Report data has been postponed until the 2022 Annual Report submission.
- Outcomes data must continue to be maintained on campus and will be required in combination with the 2022 Annual Report. A brief program status report confirming program contact information will be required this spring. Substantive changes must still be reported to the ARC/STSA within 30 days of the change; documentation supporting non-substantive changes should be maintained on campus for the 2022 Annual Report. More details coming soon on https://www.arcstsa.org/maintaining-accreditation/.
- Application process waived for emergency distance education delivery through December 31, 2021. No documentation is required at this time; however, distance education delivery continuing past December 31, 2021, may require submission of a distance education application and approval after this date. Track and maintain curriculum changes on your campus using the COVID-19 Plan of Action form.
- Guidance provided in our April 23 COVID – 19 guidance document and FAQ sheet, regarding programs that graduate students with fewer clinical cases than required during the pandemic, has been extended until December 31, 2021. Please review the provided guidance in detail as the ARC/STSA has determined to uphold the required clinical case minimums as stated in the core curricula; and, simulation may not be substituted for clinical cases, as it cannot accurately replicate a surgical experience. It is important for sponsoring institutions to understand that this determination should only be considered by the program in the most extenuating of circumstances when the program has exhausted all other options to maintain compliance with currently established clinical case criteria. If, upon review of program documentation, the ARC/STSA establishes the program did not exercise due diligence in implementing this course of action, the program will be cited for non-compliance under Standard III.C. – Curriculum.
Thank you for your continued commitment to Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting education and for your dedication to your students, especially during these challenging times. Stay safe!