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Covid-19 Communication – Field Education Placements

March 18, 2020 –  The Board of Directors recognizes the unusual context within which social work education currently finds itself. In an effort to safeguard the health and well-being of students, field educators, staff, volunteers, members and the broader community, the Board is asking that all field education placements be suspended and/or moved to Remote Learning Plans (RLP) effective March 20, 2020 until further notic. Field placements that do not involve community contact and that meet the criteria set out by university and local health authorities (e.g., research placements that can be carried out from home) may be exempted.

Given the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and the disruption it is causing, the Board of Directors is asking Schools to suspend field education placements until further notice, with the exception noted above. The Standard refers to:

SB 3.2.2 BSW programs provide students with a minimum of 700 practice hours, not including time spent in integrative activities. Where academic credit is given for previous work and/or relevant experience in lieu of the practicum, the academic unit has written policy that specifies clear criteria and procedures used to assess skills and knowledge normally obtained through the practicum. Academic credit for previous work and/or relevant experience may be provided for a maximum of one half of the required hours of practicum specified in the program (e.g., 350 hours of 700 required hours).

SM 3.2.2 A one-year MSW program provides a minimum of 450 practicum hours, not including time spent in integrative activities, and/or a thesis or memoire. A two-year MSW program provides a minimum of 450 practicum hours plus an additional 450 practicum hours not including time spent in integrative activities, and /or a thesis or memoire.

In recognition of students completed placement hours, the Board of Directors further recommends:

  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.

This decision is based on the recommendations of a working group comprised of representatives from the Deans and Directors (Judy MacDonald, Daniel Côté & Jackie Sieppert), the Commission on Accreditation (Louise Carignan), the Board of Directors (Vina Sandher & Stéphane Grenier), the Field Education Committee (Vina Sandher) and staff (Alexandra Wright). The decision also takes into account the recommendations of Public Health Agencies and Universities’ policies and protocols in response to this pandemic. This decision will be dealt with flexibility by the COA Commissioners during the accreditation of programmes.

The Board of Directors is grateful for the commitment of the field education teams across Canada and their efforts to manage an extremely challenging situation. The Board is also grateful for everyone’s collaboration during this exceptional time.

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.