Message from Field Director to All MSW Students in Generalist Field Work

TO:              All MSW Students in Generalist Field Work 

FROM:        John Dalessandro, Director of Field Education 
DATE:         March 16, 2020 
SUBJECT:   Field Education Continuity Plan for Disruption of Field Placement Activities and Field Education Strategies for Remote Competency Development  

The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work has been closely monitoring the rapidly changing circumstances associated with the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Public health officials are urging the public and employers in the region to support their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

The School has been made aware that many agencies and organizations that we utilize for field placements have moved to remote work for employees and volunteers- this would include internships. Due to this evolving situation and the difficulties it is creating for you as a student, the School of Social Work has decided to reduce the number of field hours required for you to complete your placement down from 360 to 288 hours.  

If you have clocked 288 or more hours at your agency, and meet the following conditions the School will end your field placement as of March 16th. You are required to submit a spring term timesheet and evaluation, inform your faculty field liaison of your situation and participate in a remote field visit to be scheduled. Meeting these requirements will allow you utilize this option. 

Step 1- Contact your Field Instructor at your field site and notify them that a link to your spring term evaluation and timesheet will be sent to you via Qualtrics by Friday March 20th with a due date of April 15th. Once we receive your documents, the School will add your spring term hours to your fall term total. Most of you would have completed 144 hours in the fall term so you would need at least 144 hours clocked in the spring term to be finished. The School would also need to receive your spring term evaluation signed off by both you and your field instructor indicating satisfactory completion of field work. 

Step 2-Contact your Faculty Field Liaison by email by March 20th informing them that you expect to have at least 288 hours of field work already completed and your final timesheet and Evaluation will be submitted by April 15th reflecting the completion of these hours. 

Step 3- Participate with faculty field liaison in making arrangements to complete a field site visit remotely with you and your field instructor to review your internship performance and confirmation of hours completed. 

CWEL students are advised to contact their CWEL Faculty Advisor as CWEL has unique criteria that must be met. 

Any students who are currently receiving a training fellowship stipend will continue to receive these for March and April. 

For students who have not clocked at least 288 hours to date: you will need to contact your faculty field liaison by March 20th to discuss creating an individualized plan so that you complete your field work requirements. 

This may include remote working options and assessing the hours requirement set out by the Council on Social Work Education. All plans will be designed with the goal of student completion of field work requirements. 

As always, do not hesitate to contact your faculty field liaison or me personally at  if you have any other questions or concerns. 

Please be well and use all necessary precautions to maintain your health. 


John Dalessandro, MSW, LSW 

Field Assistant Professor 
Director of Field Education 
University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work