COVID-19: Field Education | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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COVID-19: Field Education Information & Resources

Field education information is rapidly changing with the new stay-at-home order from St Louis City and County as well as the state of Illinois. The health of students and of the community is of utmost importance. As much as possible, field education will move forward with students working remotely so they can stay on track with their degree requirements. The Office of Field Education has been working with both students and organizations to develop plans that meet the needs of all parties. Please also note that CSWE has reduced the required hours for MSW students graduating in May, August and December 2020. You can find more information on that in the below FAQ.

Many organizations have been very understanding in helping students currently in practicum complete their hours remotely. In addition to working with sites, the Office of Field Education is working with our faculty to find ways for students who need supplemental opportunities to complete practicum hours through projects and partnerships that are addressing the disparities and hardships caused by this public health crisis. We are putting together a system and curriculum --- and will share those opportunities as they become available.

New Guidelines and Planning Documents

We have created guides to identify alternatives for remote work and to detail the process we will use to document any needed contingency plans, should your site and responsibilities shift.

For MSW Students

For MPH Students

For MSP Students


FIELD EDUCATION FAQ

If you have any questions, please check for answers in the FAQ below. Please also feel free to reach out to your field advisor.

Can I go to my practicum if there is a shelter-in-place order? 
Will I need to complete all of my hours?
How do I plan for out of state practicum/internship in the summer?
What will happen with international practicum/internship this summer?
How should I approach my practicum search?
Does the professional liability insurance provided by Washington University cover seeing clients over secure video platforms provided by my practicum?

We have also created a survey for students to submit questions or concerns. We will respond to questions submitted through the survey within 2-3 hours of receipt.

Can I go to my practicum if there is a shelter-in-place order in effect in my city/county/state? 

With a shelter-in-place order in effect, you should not go to your practicum site.  We will work with you to accrue the hours you need. (If you do not already have remote activities in place, please contact your field instructor to develop them.  If remote work is not possible, contact your field advisor.)

The Office of Field Education has created documentation (see above) that outlines remote learning activities by competency. This document is designed to support you to work with your field instructor to identify ways to complete practicum hours off site. With offsite learning, you must contact your field advisor to start a contingency plan. Field advisors are here to support both students and field instructors to identify tasks and learning activities that will meet the competencies for practicum. If off-site work is not an option, you will need to work with your field advisor on alternate plans, which may include postponing practicum. We will explore any and all means to avoid delaying your degree completion.

Will I need to complete all of my hours?

The Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) has reduced the number of hours required for students graduating in May, August, or December of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. It is important to think through the implications of this reduction on your educational and career goals, especially if you are planning to pursue licensure.

  • We encourage students who have the capacity to remain in their site and support the mission of the organization to continue in their practicum for 540 hours or 600 hours.  You must contact your field instructor to develop a termination plan for your practicum. Respecting your relationships with clients and colleagues is important and you should not abruptly end your practicum even if you are over the new minimum hours.  This has been communicated to your field instructor as well. 
  • The minimum number of hours for those graduating in May, August or December 2020 is 510.  
  • Students graduating in 2021 will need 900 hours of MSW practica (300 foundation and 600 concentration).
  • If you are planning to pursue a school social work license or clinical licensure, check the requirements in the licensing state before changing your hours! The following people are available to answer questions:

Guidelines by Graduation Date:

MSW Graduating in May 2020:  Foundation, 360. Concentration/Advanced Stading, 510. 

Please make sure you create a termination plan with your site, you may need a few extra hour to end the practicum appropriately. Also consider the impact of this reduction on your licensure. Contact your field advisor with questions.  You will still get the full 5 credits for practicum, this will not impact graduation. 

When you have completed your hours, you will need to make sure the following have been submitted: 

MSW Graduating in August 2020: Foundation, 360. Concentration/Advanced Standing, 510. 

Please make sure you create a termination plan with your site, you may need a few extra hours to end the practicum appropriately.  Contact your field advisor with questions. You will still get the full 5 credits for practicum, this will not impact graduation. 

Please complete this webform to communicate your plans.

MSW Graduating December 2020: Foundation: 360, Concentration/Advanced Standing: 510. Please make sure you create a termination plan with your site, you may need a few extra hours to end the practicum appropriately.   Contact your field advisor with questions. 

Please complete this webform to communicate your plans.

MSW Graduating May 2021: Foundation: 300, Concentration, 600.


How do I plan for out of state practicum/internship in the summer?

The Office of Field Education will work with you on a plan to complete an out of state practicum. Please contact your field advisor to discuss how current travel restrictions may impact your summer.

What will happen with international practicum/internship this summer?
The U.S. Department of State has announced an indefinite level 3 global travel advisory. Due to the uncertainty of the global travel situation and the rapidly spreading virus, we are suspending all international practicum for summer 2020. We know this is very disappointing and upsetting news and you are probably concerned about how this affects your graduation. Here are three options available to students since we have to cancel international practicum:

  • For first year MSW and MPH students, you can postpone until next summer or next spring, depending on when you graduate.
  • Students can work with Tammy Orahood to communicate with agencies oversees to see if it is possible to conduct the practicum remotely or online. Please note that there is no guarantee that this is possible because they may not have the technology or project bandwidth, but we can explore that option.
  • Students can choose to do practicum domestically and can work with Tammy Orahood and the Office of Field Education to explore possibilities. We are pulling together a list of faculty who have projects they need help with that can be done remotely or in St. Louis.

How should I approach my practicum search? 
Please move forward with your practicum search. We advise you to discuss plans for disruption in field education during the interview.  We are also planning supplemental field activities for summer including pandemic response field units. Field advisors are prepared to support you and answer questions.

Does the professional liability insurance provided by Washington University cover seeing clients over secure video platforms provided by my practicum?
Yes, you are covered by your professional liability insurance as long as you are:

  • seeing clients as part of your practicum
  • in alignment with your site's virtual client interaction and video platform policy, and
  • registered for practicum in this semester


FIELD EDUCATION CONTACTS

Elizabeth Fuchs
e.fuchs@wustl.edu

Erika Gonzalez
ejgonzalez@wustl.edu

Jenni Harpring
jharpring@wustl.edu

Barbara Levin
blevin@wustl.edu

Ragini Maddipati
rmaddipati@wustl.edu

Janelle Gibson
jagibson@wustl.edu

Jewel Stafford
staffordjd@wustl.edu

Alison Rico
arico@wustl.edu