DATE: March 13, 2020

CORRECTED VERSION WITH ADDITIONAL LINKS TO ATTACHMENTS

Dear Students, Field Instructors, Agency Coordinators and Liaisons,

The UMSSW Office of Field Education (OFE) has established plans to address temporary disruptions in students’ field placement activities due to local, state or national emergencies or events. Consistent with UMB policy, requirements from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and policies implemented by other MSW programs across the country, students are expected to attend field placement as planned and exercise appropriate health and safety precautions. These guidelines apply only during the closure of field placement sites, or when the student is advised or required not to physically attend field placement. Students should first contact their field instructor to check if there are mandatory agency closures and follow the directives of the agency. Students must then provide that information immediately to their liaisons.

If students are advised/required by their field site to not physically attend field placement for a period of time, or if safety concerns warrant a temporary disruption in field placement, students must immediately consult with BOTH their field instructor and their field liaison to discuss and plan next steps. This must include development of a Field Education Remote Activity Plan (link below) for alternative field education learning activities that can be completed remotely or off site on a temporary basis. Students, field instructors and field liaisons should consult the attached documents provided by the OFE for resources and activities to consider for a plan...links below:


Field instructors may also assign projects specific to their agencies. All plans MUST be approved by the field liaison before any activity will be counted towards students’ remaining field hours.

ALL plans must use the attached format , and include the following:

1. The selected activities the student will pursue along with the specific date, times and location for each activity, as well as the projected number of hours anticipated to complete the activity. 
2. A variety of different activities across several competency areas, if possible. Exceptions must be approved by the field liaison.
3. A log of all completed activities so that the field instructor can comment on these activities as part of the student’s semester Field Assessment. 
4. Students will not receive credit for any field activities that are not pre-approved. 
5. In addition to reporting time spent on activities in the monthly report and Remote Activity Plan, students must supply written verification of completed remote activities by providing certificates of completion or other appropriate verification of online training completion, to receive credit for field hours.  

This policy is designed to address short-term field placement disruptions of a maximum of 30 calendar days. If the field placement disruption continues beyond a 30-day period, the UMSSW and Office of Field Education will determine the most appropriate response to support students in successfully completing their field placement requirements. 

Students in a high medical risk category may qualify for accommodations through Educational Supports and Disability Services (ESDS). If you believe that you need accommodations in field placement due to possible exposure to COVID-19, please contact ESDS at disabilityservices@umaryland.edu or 410-706-5889, or visit their website at https://www.umaryland.edu/disabilityservices/.

Finally, we want to thank all of you for your efforts, stamina and resiliency at this difficult time as we work together to manage an unprecedented experience. We are proud to be among other social workers – including social work students -- who abide by, and take seriously our commitments under our Code of Ethics. This is a time where it may be tempting to overlook our ethical and professional responsibilities in lieu of personal preference, or because of understandable fear and uncertainty. We appreciate your cooperation as we unify to move forward as responsibly as possible. 

Please share this communication with field instructors, agency coordinators, students, liaisons, and any other stakeholders for the UMSSW MSW field education experience. We will do our best to ensure everyone receives accurate information as timely as possible. Your help in keeping us all informed is invaluable. For more information and updates from the UMSSW, please go to: https://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/coronavirus/ or https://www.umaryland.edu/coronavirus/.

We hope that this information is helpful to you.

All the best,

All the best,
Samuel B. Little, PhD, LCSW-C
Associate Dean, Field Education
Laura Loessner, MSW, LICSW, LCSW-C
Assistant Director, Field Education