COVID-19 UPDATE FROM THE DEAN - 3/20/2020

Dear School of Social Work Students,

As we all do our best to navigate uncharted territory with the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank you for your flexibility, patience and perseverance in this increasingly challenging time.  I appreciate how you are living out our professional values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of all persons, integrity, competence, and the importance of human relationships, even in this time of our virtual existence.

I recognize the alternative formats we are developing to deliver your education for the remainder of the semester may be causing some anxiety.  Please know that our faculty are working diligently to learn and create innovative teaching methods to ensure your educational needs are met.  The School is committed to working with each of you to keep you on target to graduate in the time period you have planned.  I want to share with you a couple of updates to how the School is moving forward.

Field Education for BSW and MSW Students

The IUSSW has continued to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak and its potential impact on students in field.  Some changes have become necessary.  Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, we are suspending all participation in on-site and face-to-face field education activities for two weeks, with plans to resume on April 13th.  Please know that should circumstances dictate, we may need to extend this period.

A detailed communication from our Director of Field Education, Stephanie Lyons, is included below my signature line and describes temporary shifts in policy we are implementing to help students complete field education requirements this academic year.  Note that students may individually petition to remain in their in-person field placement upon meeting specified criteria.

You are no doubt already experiencing some of the thoughtful remote approaches instructors are taking to help you complete the Field Practicum portion of your Social Work degree program.  Please be assured we are doing everything we can to assist you while making certain students meet all accreditation requirements for their respective degree program.

School Graduation Recognition Ceremony and Commencement

With much regret I must officially share with you that the School of Social Work will not be holding its in-person Graduation Recognition Ceremony planned for May.  The University has cancelled all in-person ceremonies for all schools.  This is an especially hard event for us to miss, as we look forward every year to recognizing each of you for your tremendous educational achievements.  The School is considering alternatives to our traditional in-person ceremony that will still allow us to honor each of our students graduating this academic year.  Stay tuned…more on this to come!

With the regard to Commencement, President McRobbie announced this afternoon that Spring Commencement Ceremonies scheduled for May across all campuses must be postponed. Students may choose to participate in a future University ceremony, if desired.  Regardless, “all IU degrees will continue to be awarded when earned, and this change of plans in no way affects the timing and awarding of IU degrees.”

The University is working on plans to reimburse students for various costs incurred related to graduation.  We hope to share more information in this regard in the near future.

I am inspired by your continued commitment to those we serve and to the health and wellbeing of our communities in this unprecedented time.  Please remember that you must also keep yourselves healthy if you are to continue to help others.  At this point in the cycle of COVID-19, I have been reminded by our public health professionals that we should all assume we are carriers of the virus and do what is necessary to protect ourselves and others from its spread.  That means remaining in your homes as much as possible and practicing social distancing when you must be around others, even with your own families and in your own homes. 

We will keep you updated as much as we can.  Things at the University are changing rapidly, so please be sure to check your email and the University’s COVID-19 updates daily.  Stay safe and keep yourselves as healthy as possible. 

Dean Davis

Tamara S. Davis, PhD, MSSW
Dean and Professor

IU School of Social Work
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers