At the close of a difficult week, we'd like to thank you for the empathy and professionalism you have shown in the name of protecting the health of the public. As you are aware, in the days since we made the announcement to postpone the Oral Examination, the COVID-19 situation officially became a pandemic, prompting cities across the country to ban large gatherings and major institutions to enact restrictions on travel.
We know that by this time next week, you had hoped to be on your way to completing board certification. But by suspending your travel and helping to contain the spread of the virus, you are embodying the values of patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine that will serve you well on your exam and throughout your career.
Going forward, it will be the ABO's primary objective to ensure that what you are experiencing now is a temporary detour, not a roadblock, on your path to certification.
Timetable for Rescheduling
Many of you are wondering when we will reschedule. For now, the answer remains uncertain. At least for the next few weeks, our way of life, and particularly our ability to travel in the United States, will be greatly affected by how quickly the spread of COVID-19 continues. Before we select new exam dates, we must be certain that health and travel issues are safely behind us. As options for rescheduling emerge, we will share them with you, with at least 8-12 weeks' notice so that you can coordinate your travel and study plans.
We recognize the financial investment you've made in your preparation and attendance for this exam. To help offset that cost, we will reimburse you up to $300 on the change or re-booking fee for your unused airline ticket. In the wake of COVID-19, most airlines have changed their policies, and while they may not offer you a refund, they will honor the dollar amount of your purchase for up to one year. Please contact your airline carrier to discuss your options and then email us a receipt showing the change or re-booking fee. With a valid receipt, we will reimburse you within 5-7 business days. If your airline is unwilling to allow you to use the value of your ticket in the future, your documentation for cancellation must state this in order to claim reimbursement from the ABO.
Technology & Virtual Examinations
Please know that as we move forward with rescheduling this examination, we are simultaneously exploring new and different ways of assessing the competencies in ophthalmology. While the logistics of this particular exam do not lend themselves to a virtual setting, in the future, we look forward to working with candidates to pilot new assessment methods to ensure they meet our rigorous standards for validity, reliability, and candidate experience.
Thank you for your understanding and support. As new information becomes available, we will share it with you via email and on our website.
For coronavirus-related resources, we encourage you to refer to the American Academy of Ophthalmology: https://www.aao.org/headline/alert-important-coronavirus-context.