Urging the CSWE to reconsider field practice hour waiver due to the government shutdowns

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The 2020 MSW graduate students at California State University are requesting your support in advocating on behalf of Social Work students across the United States. We are urging the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to reconsider the decision to waive the remaining field placement hours during this challenging time in our society.

What's happening: Several colleges throughout the United States have canceled or suspended in-person classes from fighting against the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus. Regardless of the closure of local agencies and government shutdowns, social work students are obligated to fulfill the remaining hours for field placement to graduate or receive credit for the semester.

The CSWE states, "Accreditation Standard 2.2.5 cannot be waived since they are related to licensing requirements in many states." Furthermore, the CSWE encourages social work programs to respond "based on safety and facts and not driven by fear." Although we acknowledge and agree with decisions that should be based on facts and not fear. We respectfully disagree with the determination to disregard waiving the remaining field placement hours as the circumstances are beyond our control.

Field placement hour waivers are necessary in times of crisis. In light of the growing "global pandemic" (World Health Organization) and the CDC’s recommendation to avoid areas with 10 or more people in attendance, it is essential for the CSWE and the ACCJC to have policies and safety measures in place to protect the lives of students. We strongly encourage the CSWE and the ACCJC to reconsider the decision to waive the remaining field placement hours in the time of hardships due to the following reasons:

  1. Health and safety concerns of students.
    Agency and government closures will impact the inability to attend internships.
  2. In specific internship settings, technology-based client interactions are unfeasible and increase a breach of confidentiality.
  3. Lack of child care for social work students. Several K-12 schools are closed or in the process of suspending classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several social work students are parents and unable to provide child care or afford to pay for child care while their children are out of school.
  4. Disruption in the students' personal lives as students attempt to make-up hours. During the summer break, several students return to employment or have a lack of child care.

The CTC changes fieldwork criteria to accommodate the global pandemic. The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) has relaxed its fieldwork expectations for students to accommodate mandatory school closures, allowing University. Social Work students in their final semester would benefit from similar changes in which the CSWE temporarily reduces expectations for face-to-face contact during this unfolding pandemic. 

*If approved-Field placement hour waiver should be optional for students pursuing their PPS hours during 2nd year of placement.