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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged critical services to maintain operations while facing a highly transmissible human pathogen. As public health officials worked to manage the crisis, initial guidelines focused on the continuation of services in the human health care setting. However, through state-mandated stay-at-home orders, the Michigan State University veterinary teaching hospital remained open to provide emergency services to both large and small animal patients. This was accomplished by distilling pertinent safety information from the available human-healthcare guidance to safely maintain operation. Challenges faced when pivoting the delivery of veterinary education from in-person to virtual format were addressed and in-person clinical rotations were resumed as soon as possible. Strategies to effectively communicate information that is both immediately critical and broadly applicable should be considered and planned before they are needed. Infection control and disaster management plans should be revisited often to ensure they include all known risks and potential challenges. Plans to maintain staffing capacity and student safety when faced with an unexpected surge in patients should be laid out with clearly defined metrics on which to act. The lessons we have learned from the pandemic would improve the delivery of care and teaching in a veterinary teaching hospital in both day-to-day circumstances and future emergencies.