March 30 Mandel Communication - New Updates for Field Education Partners

Dear Mandel School Field Education Partner,

We want to again extend our sincere appreciation to all of you for the encouragement, guidance and support you have provided to our students in recent weeks. We recognize the many challenges that organizations in our local community and across the country are facing and we are profoundly grateful for the continued commitments that you have demonstrated towards our students in a time when so much is uncertain.

We further recognize the significant operational changes that many of our field placement sites have experienced as a result of COVID-19 and that as organizations focus on the health, safety, and wellbeing of staff and clients, opportunities for student learning understandably may need to be limited, changed or temporarily put on hold.

In response to the many challenges presented by COVID-19 and in an effort to support the changing needs of our students and placement sites, the Mandel School is instituting reductions in field placement hour requirements for the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 field periods. The Mandel School Field Education Continuity Plan & Remote Activities Policy has also been revised to remove the 60 hour cap on remote field placement activities. Students may continue engaging in remote activities as needed to complete remaining field hours while following the guidance in the policy, which is attached to this email.

All students will receive information directly from their Mandel School field faculty advisor with information regarding their Spring 2020 field education course and how the field hour reductions will specifically be implemented. Field hour reductions have been made in accordance with the field placement hours required for the MSSA degree and in accordance with Council on Social Work Education requirements.

After the reduced hour requirements are applied, most students will have the ability to complete field early this semester or to reduce the planned number of field hours they are completing each week. Students may also elect not to apply the field hour reductions and continue to complete field placement hours for the remainder of this field period as planned. Significant reductions in field hours will also be applied for students that will be completing their final semester of field over the summer. Other students continuing in field will also be required to complete fewer field hours over the summer, and are eligible to complete all hours remotely if on-site activities are not feasible. At this time, reductions in field hour requirements only apply to the Spring and Summer field periods. The Mandel School Field Education Department will continue to evaluate the needs of students and placement sites throughout the coming months as we assess the need for future changes.

We have asked all students to work in close partnership with their field instructors, task supervisors, and placement sites to reduce or transition existing field education responsibilities in accordance with the reductions in hours. If your student is eligible to conclude field placement early this semester, we ask that they work with you to develop a reasonable timeframe for the completion of the Learning Agreement Evaluation. Students must follow all established due dates for the submission of all field education documentation, including timesheets and fully complete Learning Agreement Evaluation.

We have also extended the timelines for field placement interviews for our current On-Campus students and will continue to work with all students interviewing for Fall 2020 placements. If you have the capacity to consider interviewing students for placement, our field faculty can assist in providing the capacity for virtual interviews through Zoom web conferencing.

If you have questions regarding how this policy may apply to your student specifically, please contact their Mandel School field faculty advisor directly for further clarification. We will continue to provide updates to our field education community in the coming weeks or as new information is available.

With sincere appreciation,

Amy Korsch-Williams, MSSA, CNM, LISW-S
Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs-Field Education

Sharon Milligan, MSW, MPH, Ph.D., LISW
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services
Chair of MSSA degree program

Grover C Gilmore, PhD
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Dean of Applied Social Sciences