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Immunizations Required

  • Covid-19 Vaccine
    • Must be vaccinated and have had the booster.
    • If student is not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, they must file for an exemption (medical or religious) using the VA Form 10-263.
    • Attestation will be also completed on-site at the start of the rotation.
    • If student is not vaccinated or filed an exemption, they CANNOT come to the VA. If they are NOT fully vaccinated, they need to complete COVID-19 testing WEEKLY at the VA.
  • Have had tuberculosis screening as required by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or VA standards; current PPD (within 6 months of the start of the rotation); if positive, a chest x-ray from no longer than four years prior would be sufficient with annual review of symptoms. Quantiferon blood test also accepted and not to expire during rotation.
  • Have had hepatitis B vaccination or have signed declination waivers.
  • Have been vaccinated for influenza per VHA policy; currently by November 30th each year or, if declining vaccination, trainees are aware of the requirement to wear a face mask throughout the influenza season while at the VA healthcare facility
  • MMR
  • Varicella
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis) – Get either a Td or Tdap booster shot every 10 years after first dose)

Immunizations Records Submit to and Date:

  • Records should be on file at the School of Optometry with ASAO through bCourses. Be sure to keep accessible copies in case they are needed upon request.

Documentation Required

  • CPR or BLS Certification (must not expire for the duration of year rotation)
  • All required paperwork/forms will be sent via email from Chelsea Eknoian. Please review the email carefully, following all instructions. You will need to print out and return all necessary forms such that the Fresno VA is in receipt of your documents one month prior to the start of your session.
  • Fingerprinting: Due to a Federal mandate, students must be fingerprinted prior to their arrival at VA Central California. You can be fingerprinted locally at VA San Francisco or VA Martinez. Please wait for instructions and the forms from Chelsea Eknoian before scheduling any fingerprinting appointments.
    • You can get fingerprinted at the San Francisco VA on a walk-in basis:
      • The SFVA PIV (Personal Identification Verification) Office is accepting “walk-in appointments” now.
      • The office hours are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
      • Enclosed is a blank Fingerprinting form. Please complete the form and include the appropriate SOI and SON numbers to identify the VA that you will be taking the fingerprints for. Most numbers can be found in the clinic manual under the requirements for that VA site.
      • Please bring 2 original and current forms of ID (one must be a Government-issued photo ID) and your completed Fingerprinting Form to your appointment.
      • The PIV Office is located in Building 4, 2nd Floor, Room 2A-103 (San Francisco VA Medical Center, 4150 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121). Click for map of VA San Francisco PIV Office.
    • VA Martinez is another location that you can go to for fingerprinting.
      • VA Northern California Health Care System Martinez – PIV Office, 150 Muir Road, Bldg. 21 Rm 219, Martinez, CA 94553, (925) 372-2000, ext. 6755. The PIV office is located inside Bldg. 21 on the second floor in room 219.  Customer parking is located in the large gravel parking lot, across the street from Bldg 21. Click for map of VA Martinez PIV Office.
      • Open Monday through Friday 8:30 to 12 p.m and 1-3:30 p.m. Closed for lunch between 12 and 1 p.m.
      • You can make an appointment by emailing v21pivmartinez@va.gov. In the subject line, please indicate for “Fingerprinting.” In the message, please provide:
        • first name and last name
        • phone number
        • email address
        • three dates and times that work for you.
      • They will reply to confirm the date of your appointment.
      • You can also do walk-in fingerprinting, but there is no guarantee that you will be seen. Wait times vary and can be 2-4 hours. Appointments are prioritized.
        • What Documents to Bring to VA Martinez: 
          • Bring two pieces of identification with you.  1) one government identity source document ID with photo and your full legal name (including middle name); 2) one government identity source document ID (photo or non-photo) with your full legal name (including middle name). For example, you may use your state issued Driver’s license and a Social Security card, Passport, Voters Registration Card, Birth Certificate or PIV card. Expired IDs, credit cards, debit cards, school IDs are not acceptable.
        • Click here for Acceptable IDs.
        • The completed fingerprinting form. Please provide the SOI and SON (ask Chelsea Eknoian) of the VA that you need the fingerprints for so that they know where to send the results.
  • Be registered with selective service if you are male (register by Age 26)
  • Bring original Social Security card or passport, and driver license on your first day of clinic.
  • International Students and Social Security Numbers:
    • Health professions trainees (HPTs) training at VA medical centers receive temporary Federal appointments and personal identity verification credentials. To be properly vetted and eligible to participate in training, non‑US citizen HPTs who are temporarily in the United States must have:
    • A nonimmigrant F-1 or J-1 student classification; or, an I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate of eligibility; AND
    • A US Social Security Number
    • Unfortunately the use of a “pseudo-SSN” is prohibited in certain Federal systems. Your facility may have found work arounds, however use of a pseudo-SSN, or other 9-digit number, will not be permitted after May 1, 2018. Therefore, we are notifying the field in advance of this change in the onboarding process for non-US citizen trainees.
    • https://opt-cdn.berkeley.edu/app/uploads/2018/08/EN-05-10181.pdf

Documentation Submit to and Date

  • Due one month prior to start date.
    Send to:  Chelsea Eknoian (Chelsea.eknoian@va.gov), VACCHCS Fresno (112), 2615 E. Clinton Ave., Fresno, CA 93703-2286.
    Contact Chelsea Eknoian or Dr. Claire Henry (Claire.Henry@va.gov) at least 3-4 weeks prior to the start of your rotation to verify all documents have been received. All orientation information will be sent to you via email.

Absence Policy

  • Any leave must be requested at least 1 month in advance of the desired day off and be pre-approved by the Optometry Student Program Coordinator.  Requested leave will be granted only at the discretion of the Optometry Student Program Coordinator.
  • Granted days off may require an assignment:  PPT presentation (in addition to the presentation required for all students), summary of an assigned journal article, or an AAO style case report as noted below.  The type of assignment will be determined by the Optometry Student Program Coordinator
    • Boards: no additional assignment
      1. NBEO Parts I and II:  travel days are not approved for UCBSO and NECO students as these tests are offered locally.  PUCO students are granted 1 day “travel” prior to the NBEO test as required by their school policy.
      2. NBEO Part III:  travel days are allowed 1 day prior to and 1 day after the date of the Part III examination, unless the test date falls on a Monday or Friday.  In which case there is no travel day allowed prior to the test if the test falls on a Monday and there is no travel day allowed after the test if the test falls on a Friday.
      3. Law test: the student is requested to schedule their test in the morning so that he/she is able to return to clinic in the afternoon after taking his/her 1 hour law test
    • Religious holiday: no additional assignment
    • AAO, AOA, SECO: 1 additional assignment for the entire meeting; any other meeting will be a case-by-case decision of the Student Program Coordinator
    • Residency interviews: 1 additional assignment for first 2 days taken off, 1 additional for each extra day.  The maximum number of days off that can be granted is 4 days
    • Approved personal leave (e.g. personal wedding, etc) or sick leave, 2 additional assignments for each day taken off
    • Death in immediate family or personal childbirth: no additional assignment
  • If the optometry student calls in sick on a previously requested day off that was denied, they must come to their assigned clinic first, be personally noted as sick by the Optometry Student Program Coordinator or assigned Supervising Practitioner, after which they will be sent home. If the trainee fails to come into clinic on that day, they will fail the rotation and be sent back to their school for lack of professionalism.