March 8, 2020, 6:29 p.m.

Further Updates for the CSSW Community

Dear CSSW Community,

I write today with further updates on the coronavirus and its potential impact on School operations.

Please allow me to start by saying how grateful I am for our community. Despite the stress and uncertainty that we face, I see people coming together in solidarity to support one another. Your flexibility and goodwill are deeply appreciated.

I also want to share with you some of the planning that is ongoing among administrators. As you know, the University has established a high-level task force that includes world-renowned infectious disease experts who are fully versed in the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC. This group meets daily and continually updates the University website on coronavirus:

In addition, we have a team of senior administrators here at the School who also meet daily to review latest updates and implications for our community. Together, we are considering various scenarios and planning for multiple contingencies, depending on how the outbreak progresses. We have made preparations and developed a set of responses to roll out as needed. For now, course offerings will continue, uninterrupted. Please know that we will be sure to notify you immediately should that change. The situation is evolving rapidly, as you know, and we are ready to implement changes as circumstances dictate.

Please be sure to follow the recommended guidelines from the CDC on prevention, which are also highlighted on the University coronavirus website. These include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm or elbow, or cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home when you are sick, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Please continue to follow latest announcements arriving by email. If you are a student and have questions regarding academics or practicum placements, please contact Deans Michael Lovaglio (, Moira Curtain (, and Kathryne Leak (

With best regards,



Melissa D. Begg
Dean & Professor
Columbia School of Social Work