Updates for Fall 2021-July 27, 2021

Dear Social Work Students -- 

  I hope that you are all having a good summer! As we approach August, we are working on many fronts to make sure that everything is ready for the start of the fall semester.  As always, we are working within the larger university's guidelines and approaches and are thinking through ways to make sure that we are prioritizing everyone's safety and opportunities for the best possible educational experience. We are looking forward to seeing you all and having a chance to come together in ways that have not been possible in the past 3 semesters! We have been getting questions about a variety of things, so I wanted to make sure that everyone is aware of critical information and knows how to contact us if you have specific questions. 

Key things to know: 

  1. Pitt is expecting the semester/year to be in-person. This means that our courses are scheduled to occur in classrooms on campus. 
  2. Pitt's website regularly updates information about its COVID-19 safety measures and precautions, and the university's top administrators have sent out a series of messages to share the university's approach. Our school will be following the Pitt guidelines to promote safety and to provide the best possible learning opportunities and experiences. Please make sure that you are regularly checking email and reading messages from the Chancellor, Provost, and administrators in the School of Social Work.  
  3. To date, Pitt is not requiring vaccinations. However, in line with the best available data and public health information about how to prevent and minimize risks of COVID-19 for individuals and communities, we are strongly recommending that everyone gets one of the available vaccines. If you need help getting vaccinated, Pitt has ongoing opportunities to get vaccinated on campus (now and as the semester starts). Given the time between starting the vaccine process and maximum immunity, I encourage everyone to start this process as soon as possible. If you have questions about the vaccine, Pitt has FAQs available to answer questions and also individuals who are available to discuss any concerns and safety issues. 
  1. If you have health conditions or concerns that make it unwise or impossible for you to attend classes in person, the university is requiring that students seek accommodation through Disability Resources and Services. I recommend that you start this process as soon as possible.  

I hope that this answers some questions that you might have. You will be getting additional information in the coming weeks from other administrators and faculty in the school. Please pay attention to these messages as they appear. And, if you have specific questions, please feel free to reach out to your Program Director [(BASW -- Dr. Toya Jones (toyaj@pitt.edu); MSW -- Dr. Yodit Betru (yoditbetru@pitt.edu); PhD – Dr. Christina Newhill (newhill@pitt.edu)] or to me (efarmer@pitt.edu).   

We are all eager to get the new year started and are attentive to the ever-changing context and complexities that we need to address to make this year safe and successful. We look forward to seeing you soon!  

Please take care and enjoy the rest of the summer, 


Elizabeth M.Z. Farmer, Ph.D.

Dean and Professor

School of Social Work

University of Pittsburgh

4200 5th Ave., Suite 2117

Pittsburgh, PA 15260