Let OT Students Complete Modified Fieldwork (COVID-19)

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This petition aims to change the requirement that clinical OT fieldwork must be completed a) over a consecutive period and b) in person. Due to the COVID-19 crisis occupational therapy (OT) students around the world are being required to either suspend or postpone their clinical fieldwork experience. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), which regulates and sets educational standards, requires that fieldwork be completed in person and allows some schools to require it be completed over a consecutive period (usually 12 weeks). The COVID-19 crisis interrupted this process for many students, and as a result, they may be required to start over. Other students at the beginning of their fieldwork experience have been required to postpone, which delays their graduation dates and results in immense financial, emotional, and educational losses. Alternative fieldwork experiences exist such as simulated/video OT sessions with real clients, OT in telehealth, and research. While these are not optimal, they are valuable and can lessen the burdens of this critical situation. Your signature will help to convince ACOTE to modify their fieldwork requirements to allow students to complete it through a variety of alternative methods such as telehealth, simulations, and research. It will also help convince schools to allow students to complete it over a nonconsecutive period. This will allow students whose fieldwork experiences have been interrupted to pick back up where they left off and students who have been delayed to continue learning. Please consider signing this petition to help OT students continue their education, and lessen the burdens caused by this crisis.