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Covid-19 and Field Education Placements (Communication 3)

March 31, 2020 – Given the ongoing Public Heath advisories regarding Covid-19 and the extraordinary context that social work schools across Canada are finding themselves, the Board of Directors is providing further recommendations to provide guidance to CASWE-ACFTS schools of social work and field placements.

The Board of Directors previously approved the recommendations that all field education placements be suspended and/or moved to Remote Learning Plans (RLP) effective March 20, 2020, until further notice. Further to those recommendations, the Board recommended that:

  1. Students who have completed 75% of the required placement hours to a satisfactory level will be evaluated as having met the field placement requirements;
  2. For students who have completed between 60% and 74% of required placement hours to a satisfactory level, a Remote Learning Plan (RLP) must be developed, implemented, and submitted for review and approval by the Field Education Coordinator, Manager or Director or any other such person as determined by the program, in order to be evaluated as meeting the field placement requirements;
  3. Students who have completed less than 60% of the required placement hours will be evaluated as not having completed the field placement requirements. Their placement hours will be recognized and brought forward to a future field placement, once the suspension is lifted.

In this rapidly changing context, the Board understands that CASWE-ACFTS schools of social work reflect program uniqueness and multiple approaches to social work education with a range of available resources. Consequently, the Board of Directors recognizes that social work programs have discretion in the implementation of remote learning plans based on the school’s capacities. Remote field placements can include learning activities such as: field applications to social justice, equity, relational knowledge development, environment, reparation and reconciliation issues; organizational analysis; intervention, case studies, simulations, evaluation, assignments, training, presentations, groupwork, supervision, self-reflection, online learning using digital media and policy development (in addition to others not listed). Discretion can also be applied to the option of re-structuring field placement hours over the social work program, for example decreasing field placement hours required in one year of the program and increasing them in the second year. Schools must ensure that adequate and appropriate supervision is in place for all learning activities and that their programs ensure students meet the learning objectives of the CASWE-ACFTS standards. Should remote learning plans be unrealistic for some programs, the Board advises the suspension of field placements until such time that the necessary conditions for field education are met.

The Board has approved that these recommendations/guidelines include those circulated on March 18th and 19th and that they be in effect for one year, until April 2021. At that time the Board will review these guidelines and make further recommendations. In the accreditation process the Commissioners of Accreditation will deal with the implementation of these recommendations with flexibility.

These guidelines are in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and are mindful of Public Health Agencies’ decisions and cognizant of Universities’ policies and protocols. The recommendations are based on the outcomes of a working group comprised of representatives from the Deans and Directors (Judy MacDonald, Daniel Côté & Jackie Sieppert), the Commission on Accreditation (Louise Carignan & Patricia MacKenzie), the Board of Directors (Vina Sandher, Patricia MacKenzie & Stéphane Grenier), the Field Education Committee (Holly Bradley, Cyndi Hall & Vina Sandher) and staff (Alexandra Wright & Marie-Christine Bois).

The Board of Directors is grateful for the long-term relationships that CASWE-ACFTS schools of social work have developed with government and community organizations across Canada and globally. These partnerships reflect a commitment from Deans and Directors, Faculty, and Field Educators to the development and maintenance of quality social work education. The Board values this commitment and is grateful for schools’ efforts to manage an extremely challenging situation.

If you have any questions related to the above, please email Stéphane Grenier, stephane.grenier@uqat.ca, President of CASWE-ACFTS or the Executive Director, Alexandra Wright at awright@caswe-acfts.ca.

Given the ongoing Public Heath advisories regarding Covid-19 and the extraordinary context that social work schools across Canada are finding themselves, the Board of Directors is providing further recommendations to provide guidance to CASWE-ACFTS schools of social work and field placements.

The Board of Directors previously approved the recommendations that all field education placements be suspended and/or moved to Remote Learning Plans (RLP) effective March 20, 2020, until further notice. Further to those recommendations, the Board recommended that:

  1. Students who have completed 75% of the required placement hours to a satisfactory level will be evaluated as having met the field placement requirements;
  2. For students who have completed between 60% and 74% of required placement hours to a satisfactory level, a Remote Learning Plan (RLP) must be developed, implemented, and submitted for review and approval by the Field Education Coordinator, Manager or Director or any other such person as determined by the program, in order to be evaluated as meeting the field placement requirements;
  3. Students who have completed less than 60% of the required placement hours will be evaluated as not having completed the field placement requirements. Their placement hours will be recognized and brought forward to a future field placement, once the suspension is lifted.

In this rapidly changing context, the Board understands that CASWE-ACFTS schools of social work reflect program uniqueness and multiple approaches to social work education with a range of available resources. Consequently, the Board of Directors recognizes that social work programs have discretion in the implementation of remote learning plans based on the school’s capacities. Remote field placements can include learning activities such as: field applications to social justice, equity, relational knowledge development, environment, reparation and reconciliation issues; organizational analysis; intervention, case studies, simulations, evaluation, assignments, training, presentations, groupwork, supervision, self-reflection, online learning using digital media and policy development (in addition to others not listed). Discretion can also be applied to the option of re-structuring field placement hours over the social work program, for example decreasing field placement hours required in one year of the program and increasing them in the second year. Schools must ensure that adequate and appropriate supervision is in place for all learning activities and that their programs ensure students meet the learning objectives of the CASWE-ACFTS standards. Should remote learning plans be unrealistic for some programs, the Board advises the suspension of field placements until such time that the necessary conditions for field education are met.

The Board has approved that these recommendations/guidelines include those circulated on March 18th and 19th and that they be in effect for one year, until April 2021. At that time the Board will review these guidelines and make further recommendations. In the accreditation process the Commissioners of Accreditation will deal with the implementation of these recommendations with flexibility.

These guidelines are in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and are mindful of Public Health Agencies’ decisions and cognizant of Universities’ policies and protocols. The recommendations are based on the outcomes of a working group comprised of representatives from the Deans and Directors (Judy MacDonald, Daniel Côté & Jackie Sieppert), the Commission on Accreditation (Louise Carignan & Patricia MacKenzie), the Board of Directors (Vina Sandher, Patricia MacKenzie & Stéphane Grenier), the Field Education Committee (Holly Bradley, Cyndi Hall & Vina Sandher) and staff (Alexandra Wright & Marie-Christine Bois).

The Board of Directors is grateful for the long-term relationships that CASWE-ACFTS schools of social work have developed with government and community organizations across Canada and globally. These partnerships reflect a commitment from Deans and Directors, Faculty, and Field Educators to the development and maintenance of quality social work education. The Board values this commitment and is grateful for schools’ efforts to manage an extremely challenging situation.

If you have any questions related to the above, please email Stéphane Grenier, stephane.grenier@uqat.ca, President of CASWE-ACFTS or the Executive Director, Alexandra Wright at awright@caswe-acfts.ca.

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