BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – D’Youville College will accelerate graduation for high-need healthcare fields as New York’s healthcare system braces for “unprecedented levels of stress”, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the college announced on Monday.

The college put plans in motion over the weekend to accelerate the curriculum, award early graduation, and replace some clinical requirements with simulation for some students studying fields like physician assistant, nursing, and pharmacy.

According to a press release from the university, there are currently more than 30 D’Youville Doctor of Pharmacy students and 81 Bachelor of Nursing students are preparing to enter the workforce early.

Faculty in their programs will expedite the completion of their coursework this week and vote to confer their degrees early.

“We’re waiting in the wings; we’re the second-wave team,” said Dr. Canio Marasco, Dean of D’Youville’s School of Pharmacy. “If one active Pharmacist contracts COVID-19, his or her colleagues would have to self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks. This could debilitate access to medications, immunizations, testing, and treatment consultations.”

D’Youville will also provide students in high-need healthcare fields with a $1,000 “graduation bonus” which can be used for rent or down payment on a house anywhere in New York State, if they opt to accelerate their education in the fight against COVID-19.