Covid-19 FAQs: Field Education

Last updated 10/16/20

Will I have a traditional field placement at an agency in the 2020-2021 academic year?

It is our expectation that every student will have a combination of a field unit or agency-affiliated field education and some remote field education experiences provided by the UConn School of Social Work (SSW) in the 2020-2021 academic year. The field unit or agency-affiliated field placements may include in-person activities at the agency or in the community and/or some remote field activities (e.g., tele-health, remote field projects for the agency) to be
determined by each agency.

Our goal is to have everyone obtain a field unit or agency-affiliated field placement for at least part of the academic year. We anticipate that most students will engage in some amount of remote field activities during the year. It is possible, for example, depending on state an University guidance and/or agency determinations, that some field placements may be disrupted during the year due to COVID-19. If that happens, affected students would engage in remote field experiences provided either by their field agency (e.g., tele-health or remote field activities) or by the UConn SSW until such time as they are able to resume a field unit or agency-affiliated placement. These remote field experiences will meet the competencies required for field education and promote the development of practice skills. Students will receive credit for field hours for completing these assignments.

When will my 2020-2021 field experience start?

All students will start in field on September 8, 2020, whether they are doing this in a field unit or agency-affiliated placement or engaging in remote field experiences.

Will I be required to complete background checks and immunizations prior to starting an agency-based field placement?

Yes, all students enrolled in field are required to complete background checks and immunizations in the Complio system. Complio is the online screening and tracking system utilized by UConn. Students who are not compliant in the Complio system will not be able to start their agency-based field placement. Please see the MSW Background Check FAQ and the BSW Background Check FAQ sheet for more information.

If I do an Employed Social Work (ESW) placement, do I still have to go through COMPLIO and become COMPLIO compliant?

It is our expectation that every student will have a combination of a field unit or agency-affiliated field education and some remote field education experiences provided by the UConn School of Social Work (SSW) in the 2020-2021 academic year. The field unit or agency-affiliated field placements may include in-person activities at the agency or in the community and/or some remote field activities (e.g., tele-health, remote field projects for the agency) to be
determined by each agency.

Our goal is to have everyone obtain a field unit or agency-affiliated field placement for at least part of the academic year. We anticipate that most students will engage in some amount of remote field activities during the year. It is possible, for example, depending on state an University guidance and/or agency determinations, that some field placements may be disrupted during the year due to COVID-19. If that happens, affected students would engage in remote field experiences provided either by their field agency (e.g., tele-health or remote field activities) or by the UConn SSW until such time as they are able to resume a field unit or agency-affiliated placement. These remote field experiences will meet the competencies required for field education and promote the development of practice skills. Students will receive credit for field hours for completing these assignments.

What if I don’t have an agency-based field placement by September 8, 2020?

Some students will not be placed in an agency-based field placement by the field practicum start date of September 8, 2020. Those students will spend field hours doing remote assignments starting on September 8, 2020 until they are placed and will receive credit for field hours for completing these assignments (up to 15 hours per week for MSW students and up to 12 hours per week for BSW students).

What do remote field experiences provided by the UConn SSW involve?

MSW students: All MSW “in-field” students are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours-per-week in field education. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field education (whether at the field unit / agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences. Some agency placements may require a student to do up to 20 hours-per-week in their placement.

BSW students: All students are required to complete 12 hours-per-week in field education. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field
education (whether at the field unit / agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences.

How do I access and engage in the remote field experiences provided by the UConn SSW?

MSW students: All MSW “in-field” students are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours-per-week in field education. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field education (whether at the field unit / agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences. Some agency placements may require a student to do up to 20 hours-per-week in their placement.

BSW students: All students are required to complete 12 hours-per-week in field education. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field
education (whether at the field unit / agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences.

How many hours per week will I be engaged in field education during the 2020-2021 academic year?

MSW students: All MSW “in-field” students are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours-per-week in field education. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field education (whether at the field unit / agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences. Some agency placements may require a student to do up to 20 hours-per-week in their placement.

BSW students: All students are required to complete 12 hours-per-week in field education. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field
education (whether at the field unit / agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences.

When will my field education end?

We expect that most students will finish their field education hours by April 23. Some agencies may require additional hours or have an end date past April 23.

How many hours of field will I be required to obtain during the 2020-2021 academic year?

MSW students: All MSW “in-field” students are required to complete a minimum of 420 hours of field in the 2020-2021 academic year. This is true for students engaged in a field unit or agency-affiliated field education (whether at the agency or remote) and those engaged in remote field experiences. Some agency placements may require a student to do up to 20 hours-per-week in their placement.

BSW students: All BSW “in-field” students are required to complete 340 hours of field.

How many field hours will be required to in order to graduate in 2021?

MSW Students: Second-year MSW students must complete 765 field hours to graduate in Spring 2021 (combining hours from their first and second year field placements). Students with advanced standing must complete 765 field hours to graduate in Spring 2021 (combining hours from their BSW program and the MSW program).

BSW Students: BSW students need to complete 340 field hours to graduate in 2021.

If I graduate this year with 765 hours of field practicum hours in my MSW program, will that meet social work licensure requirements in Connecticut and elsewhere in the United States?

In order to get licensed in Connecticut, a basic requirement is graduation from an MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The UConn School
of Social Work is accredited by CSWE.

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) reported in Spring 2020 that no state’s regulatory requirements exceed CSWE’s temporary guidelines for reduced field hours during the coronavirus pandemic. This means that students who graduate with their degrees from UConn will not be limited in terms of where they can apply for licensure in the United States based on graduating with reduced field hours authorized by CSWE.

Will remote field activities (including tele-health), field supervision, and field seminar hours count toward the required field hours?

During the 2020-2021 academic year, in keeping with the CSWE guidelines, the SSW will allow for remote field activity, field supervision and field seminar hours to count toward MSW students’ field hours.

If I am working in a social service agency, may I do my field placement in the agency where I am employed?

You may be able to do an Employed Social Work (ESW) placement. In keeping with CSWE’s updated guidance on employment-based field in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the SSW will be more flexible in the use of ESW placements in the 2020-2021 academic year. Please contact the Field Education Department at sswfielded@uconn.edu if you are interested in exploring this.

Will my Field Seminars meet in person or be held online in the 2020-2021 academic year?

Fall 2020 Field Seminars will be held remotely using WebEx. Students received more information about this prior to the first seminar in September, including instructions regarding how to join the WebEx seminar. The Spring 2021 Field Seminars will also be held remotely.

Will my faculty advisor make in-person or remote site visits in the 2020-2021 academic year?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty advisors are authorized to conduct remote rather than in-person site visit(s) with field instructors and student advisees (e.g., conducted by WebEx, Zoom, or some other video conferencing mechanism).

What policies and guidelines should I follow regarding the COVID-19 situation?

Students are expected to follow all changes to policies and guidelines from UConn, their field agency (if applicable), and other relevant bodies (e.g., their state, the CDC) as they relate to temporary disruptions. If the field site is open, students should plan to attend field as scheduled while closely monitoring their own health and safety. As emerging professionals, students are empowered to make an informed decision and consider options regarding attendance in field related to health and safety. As per CDC and State of Connecticut guidance, students should consult with their personal physician regarding their own health situation. We support the informed decisions that students will make. All decisions may impact the student’s eligibility to enter a field placement.

For updates from UConn, visit the University's Coronavirus Updates page.

For more information on testing and isolation requirements, including specific School of Social Work policies, visit the SSW Covid-19 Information page.

If I have questions about any of this information, who should I talk with?

MSW students: Please contact either the Field Coordinator who is working with you individually on your field placement or the Field Education Office:

BSW students: Please contact the BSW Field Coordinator, Cheryl Jackson-Morris: cheryl.jackson-morris@uconn.edu.