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COVID-19 Impact on Field Education

Dear Fall Semester Social Work Field Students:

All of us at the College of Social Work hope you and your families are staying healthy during this stressful time.  

We will provide COVID-19 related information and updates on this site. Please know that leadership in field education, advising, MSW/BSW leadership, the Dean’s office and the University of Utah are meeting regularly to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our students, our programs and our educational mission.  Accordingly, as exigent circumstances change, policies may change as well, so please check back regularly.  Also, please refer to the MSW Policy Handbook for guidance regarding the official academic and program policies of the University of Utah College of Social Work

We realize that circumstances are challenging, and that the lack of predictive and concrete information only compounds our sense of helplessness and uncertainty.  If you are struggling, please contact the University of Utah Counseling Center for guidance and support, or access self-help tips here Coping with COVID-19.

Student Information


As this time, the University of Utah has approved an in-person return to practicum field agencies for fall semester, 2020, but will follow CDC and Health Department guidance if disease incidence and hospitalizations increase. Also, students are permitted to engage in remote and/or hybrid practicum

Please comply with all risk mitigation and physical distancing guidelines.  If you suspect exposure, contact your field instructor and the practicum coordinator immediately.

What to do if you suspect COVID-19 exposure:  guidance from the Utah Health Department: Evaluate your exposure – were you within 6 ft for 15 minutes or more of the positive cases?

  • If yes, quarantine.
  • If no, monitor for symptoms.

Get tested if symptoms appear – even mild ones. The Utah Department of Health will do contact tracing when someone tests positive for Covid-19, and will contact every person they feel may have been exposed to the virus. If they don’t contact you, it means you were most likely not exposed.

Also, please complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form: COVID-19 Reporting Form


Our social work accrediting body, CSWE is extending some relief to agencies during the pandemic by providing the following exemptions:

  • Advanced Standing and Specialist year MSW students (students in year 2 of practicum) will be required to earn a minimum of 765 hours instead of 1050 hours TOTAL if completing practicum by May 2021. This is added to the 340 (or more) hours our Advanced Standing students accrued as BSW students, or  the roughly 300-400 hours our 2nd year students accrued in their generalist (year 1 placement).
  • Incoming Generalist MSW students will be required to earn 900 hours across both years instead of 1050 hours if graduating by May 2022

BSW students will be required to earn 340 hours if graduating by May 2021 (350 if BSW/ASUDC).

NOTE REGARDING REDUCED HOURS:The minimum field  hours have been reduced but your field instructor will determine the number of hours (up to the standard required hours) required to meet agency and client needs.  If you are experiencing a COVID-related extenuating circumstance, please discuss this with your field advisor. Also, your practicum coordinator will need to approve any request to earn fewer than 12 hours/week in your practicum agency.

  • To fill potential deficiencies in required hours due to hybrid or remote work, or disruptions in placements due to COVID-19, you can complete the CSWE approved alternative assignments listed here  with the approval of your field instructor to fulfill certain requirements.  Please review the competencies and requirements (individuals, groups, communities, etc) associated with these approved alternative assignments to ensure compliance with practicum requirements in collaboration with your field instructor.  Please collaborate with your assigned agencies to develop a plan to complete relevant assignments, document the number of hours required to complete the assignments and submit to your field instructor and practicum coordinator using this cover sheet

Please note that while CSWE, the University of Utah College of Social Work and the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) will temporarily allow social work students to complete 85% of the required practicum hours through May 31, 2021, some states outside of Utah may require more practicum hours in order to be eligible for licensure. Therefore, if you complete fewer than 900 practicum hours and plan to be licensed outside of Utah, please review the requirements for the state(s) in which you plan to apply for licensure. You can do this by contacting the state’s social work licensing board. A summary of requirements and state licensing boards can be accessed through the ASWB regulation database.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated: 3/5/21