Field Education

Guide for Practicum Students during COVID-19 Pandemic

The information below summarizes key considerations for field education placements for AY 20-21.

If you are a student and will be at a placement, please complete the Field Acknowledgement Form.

Access the Field Acknowledgement Form here.

Practicum Hours for AY 20-21:

The College is implementing a 15% reduction in the required practicum hours for ALL students for AY 20-21.

  • MSW students will complete a total of 255 hours in practicum per semester.
  • BASW students will complete a total of 170 hours in practicum per semester.

Before the Practicum Placement Begins:

  • Confirm with your agency what personal protective equipment (PPE) is required, and what your agency does/does not provide
  • Participate in any required orientations and safety trainings provided by your practicum site (this will count toward practicum hours)
  • Confirm your agency’s safety protocol, including personal health requirements (ex. when you should stay home, washing hands, social distancing, etc. (See preventive measures at the bottom of this document)      
    • The College will work with students if you stay home due to health concerns re:  COVID-19 to allow you to make-up the hours virtually
    • If your agency is unable to provide the required PPE, please let us know as soon as possible and we will provide you with PPE.
  • Acknowledge the potential anxiety and stress you may be experiencing planning for your entry into practicum during this challenging time; ask your agency Field Instructor any practical questions that may allay safety concerns.
  • Read and sign the Acknowledgement of Risk form on the College website

Preventive Measures per CDC Guidelines

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

  • Stay home when you are sick with flu-like illness; contact your Practicum Instructor and Field Instructor to alert them of the situation.
  • Submit to health screenings as required by your practicum agency
  • Use PPE as required 
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your nose, ears, and eyes
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes using your elbow
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Keep frequently touched communal surfaces (phones, desks, work equipment) clean
  • Do not use other’s phones, desks, etc. If necessary, clean with a disinfectant

For Placements Utilizing Temporary or Permanent Teleservices

 Before Practicum Begins:

  • Assess your access to technology (phone, computer, webcam, internet bandwidth) and the reliability of that technology. Please contact us if there are limitations that could impact your practicum experience/client services
  • Ask your Field Instructor what, if any, platforms/systems your agency is using to provide services
  • Inquire about any trainings on the platforms/systems, teleservices or other agency requirements you could take prior to starting practicum (you can count the hours)
  • If you are interested in getting some basic telehealth training before startig your practicum and your agency does not provide it, see below (3-hour training):

Telehealth Basics for Social Work Educators and Behavioral Health Clinicians Responding to COVID-19 (free—3 modules)

  • Ask how you will account for hours and receive supervision; weekly hourly supervision can be via zoom or another video-conferencing platform, but you will need to clarify and have a plan for how you contact your Field Instructor during times outside of formal supervision meetings

During Practicum:

  • Discuss how you will complete documentation in a secure manner
  • Go over emergency procedures (who, how, and when to contact)
  • Review NASW, ASWB, CSWE & CSWA Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice and discuss them during the first week with your Field Instructor
  • Consider:
  • Creating a google voice number instead of giving your personal phone number
  • Setting up a private, professional space, if possible.
  • Use a professional virtual background screen if available, or make sure identifying, unprofessional and/or distracting objects are not in the view
  • Expectations for professional attire
  • How to handle disruptions to client sessions due to technology issues on the part of the intern or client
  • Throughout supervision discuss potential ethical dilemmas and self-care issues that may arise as a result of teleservices (ex. boundary confusion for client and/or you due to “being” in each other’s homes, difficulty leaving work, confidentiality in your home for your clients)

During the Practicum:

Review CDC guidelines on a regular basis: Information on the coronavirus is fluid

Preventive Measures per CDC Guidelines

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

  • Stay home when you are sick with flu-like illness; contact your Practicum Instructor and Field Instructor to alert them of the situation.
  • Submit to health screenings as required by your practicum agency
  • Use PPE as required 
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your nose, ears, and eyes
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes using your elbow
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Keep frequently touched communal surfaces (phones, desks, work equipment) clean
  • Do not use other’s phones, desks, etc. If necessary, clean with a disinfectant

Seek guidance from your agency field instructor and your practicum instructor regularly

  • Review how you should handle a situation where the client is (1) not wearing a mask (2) wearing a mask improperly (3) takes off their mask (same with social distancing)
  • Proactively bring any concerns about interning during the pandemic and/or providing teleservices to your Field Instructor and Practicum Instructor
  • If you are feeling distressed or have significant financial issues that may interfere with your ability to complete their practicum, please let your practicum instructor know
  • Remember that, though our interactions with clients may be different (tele or social distanced, etc.), our mission is still the same: Enhancing well-being, helping meet the basic needs of all people while holding the core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.
  • Engage in self-care during the practicum:  https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice/Infectious-Diseases/Coronavirus/Self-Care-During-the-Coronavirus-Pandemic

If anything changes in the practicum placement (ex. safety concerns increase, amount of work for you decreases), please contact your practicum instructor immediately so we can assist you in resolving the issue

VIEW UK’S PLAYBOOK FOR FALL 2020