Field Update from March 19

March 22, 2020

The latest information on field placements - sent to students on March 19


As you know, the COVID-19 situation changes daily, so we are trying to keep our policies and protocols up to date with all trends: public health guidance, CSWE requirements, mandates from the UMB President, expectations of the SSW Dean, etc. Mixed in with that is our effort to determine how our Code of Ethics applies with regard to ethical and professional responsibility. Most of all, we know there is no one, perfect answer. That said, we care very much about our students, and students' well-being, so have tried to include some flexibility in our policies as well.


Our notice last Friday was intended to allow for some flexibility for students who wanted to remain in field, or who could not remain in field for a number of reasons. This morning, Dr. Bruce Jarrell, the UMB President, issued a statement that all students in a field setting must switch to remote learning no later than this Saturday. Once again, the bigger plan is changing!


Beginning no later than Saturday, March 20, ALL students must do the following:


  1. Contact your field instructor (if you have not already done so) to discuss ways in which you might continue to provide services to your clients remotely. There are options for using tele-behavioral health that may be useful to you and your placement:

  2. If you are not able to provide remote services to your clients, discuss with your field instructor ways in which you can terminate with your clients as appropriately as possible.

  3. Calculate the number of days you have remaining to complete your time in field.

  4. Prepare a plan using the Remote Activity Plan form we provided, and the supplemental materials that include a number of remote activities consistent with all 9 competencies

  5. Students should be sure that the activities on the plan account for time remaining in Field. For example, if you select a webinar, count the time for the webinar as well as some time to process and reflect on what you’ve learned. Be reasonable with the time you assign to tasks.

  6. In addition to the linked materials, there are also volunteer opportunities that might be available in your communities. If you wish to pursue any of these, please discuss with your liaison to determine time and evidence for them.

  7. Consider another opportunity for direct (though remote) contact through United Way of Central Maryland, MD 211. The United Way is looking for volunteers to help with the thousands of calls they are getting each day. Students who can get their field instructors to provide supervision for this opportunity may wish to pursue it:

  8. When you have completed a draft of your RAP, share it with your Field Instructor and Liaison. If Field Instructors have unique activities for students to complete that are relevant to placement, please plan to include them. 

  9. Field Instructors and Liaisons must approve your RAP -- if Field Instructor is unavailable, Liaison can approve.

  10. Once approved, proceed according to the RAP, updating it as each task is completed, providing evidence (certificate of completion, brief description of webinar, photo of your name on a volunteer attendance sheet, etc.). The RAP becomes a tool for Liaison (and Field Instructor if available) to monitor student progress.

Though rare, there may be exceptions to the remote field mandate, where students may have opportunity to safely remain in their placements and complete field activities for their agencies. If you believe you have an exception, you may submit a written request to remain in field to Dr. Samuel Little. These requests must include: your name, field placement, name of field instructor, a detailed description of placement activities, and a rationale for why you should be able to remain in your placement. Dr. Little will consult with Dean Barth on a case-by-case basis, and send a written determination to your request. Please do not take action on your request without this written approval. 


Our hope is that students have a way to complete their field experiences and not fall behind in the program. Our plan is for all advanced students to be able to graduate, and all foundation students to have a solid footing going into the advanced year. Our wish is that none of this was happening! We know we won't get that wish, but we do hope to partner with every student and every stakeholder in field to ensure the best possible outcome.

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