March 4, 2020 at 2:50 p.m.

CSSW Practicum Learning & COVID-19

Dear Students:

As noted in Dean Begg’s recent message, we are committed to ensuring that all students are able to successfully complete their practicum instruction hours in a safe and timely manner.

We know that some of you, depending on your placement, may be very concerned about your proximity to and possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus. We are also aware that many of you are generally feeling a heightened sense of anxiety while you travel to and from your practicum placement, maintaining your commitment to serve our communities.

I want to assure you that we in Practicum Learning are working closely with School leaders and Columbia University health officials to remain apprised of this evolving local, national, and global disease outbreak. We are also working in conjunction with our community partners to safeguard your health and well-being, which is paramount to us at the School.

Please note the following about your Practicum Learning requirement:

  1. All students should continue their current progress in their practicum practicum. We will notify you if there is a disruption in your practicum placement due to COVID-19. At that time, you will be notified by the School to not attend placement. Your practicum placement sites and advisors also will be contacted expeditiously.
  2. Working collaboratively with our community partners, a disruption may occur on the site level where you are advised directly by your supervisor/education coordinator not to attend placement. In this instance, please immediately follow their instructions and alert the Office of Practicum Learning and your advisor. We will follow-up accordingly with the site, and also will remain in contact with you about your practicum instruction options.
  3. In the case of a disruption, CSSW and practicum placement site will assess the disruption time frame, and communicate that to you as soon as possible. During this time, impacted students will receive assignments from the placement site and/or Office of Practicum Learning to support their learning and completion of requirements.

As you continue serving your communities, please remain cautiously aware and know School leaders are working diligently to address any possible placement risks. The health of our CSSW community is a top priority. Please frequently check the University’s preparedness website, which is updated regularly with the latest information. We also will update you on the School’s plans as they develop. Be well.

Kathryne Leak, EdD, LCSW
Associate Dean, Office of Practicum Learning
Columbia University School of Social Work