Learning and Teaching During COVID-19

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Social Work Communications

Below you will find the spring/summer email communications sent to incoming MSW. These weekly emails highlight various topics, containing important and helpful information. As new ones are sent, they will be added here.

Fall Class Information

Hello Students,

We hope you are safe and healthy in these uncertain times. We want to update you on a number of things related to fall SSW classes and field education. It is important to note that recommendations related to COVID-19 are in constant flux. It is possible that the plan may shift again as information changes. We will be sure to keep you informed.

This message includes a lot of information including:

  1. Format for fall classes
  2. Registering for hybrid versus online classes
  3. Safety in the SSW building
  4. Field education


As you know, the University of Michigan has announced a blend of in-person and online instruction (hybrid) this fall. Social work students have also expressed a strong preference for hybrid courses. Most SSW classes this fall will be hybrid and a small number will be designated as totally online.

  • Hybrid courses will meet in person four times between August 31 and November 20. To maintain a public health-informed experience, your class will be assigned specific dates for in-person class times minimizing the number of people in the building. These dates will be the only times your course will hold classes in person. In the weeks that you are not meeting in person, your class will meet online, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous content.
  • Totally online courses have been identified. There is an expectation that online courses will contain regular synchronous components ("live" and online), and will likely make use of a blend of synchronous/ asynchronous material.

All classes will be taught online from November 20 until the last day of classes on December 8. It is possible that additional courses will be switched to an online format due to health and risk-related circumstances. We encourage you to keep an eye on your courses for changes.


If you must take a strictly online course this fall, please register for a section designated as online/remote. If you need to petition for these courses, be sure to note the reason for needing an online section in your petition description.

All classes not marked as online/remote will be hybrid. If you are unable to find an online course that meets your course of study requirements, faculty have been asked to accommodate remote students into their hybrid courses. Accommodations may differ depending on the nature of the course. For example, you may join live but remotely, you may be provided with a recording of the lecture, or you may be given alternative work to do. You must inform your instructor that you will not be able to attend the in-person class(es) so they can arrange these accommodations.


The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is of critical importance as we return to the School of Social Work building. Detailed information about safety protocols and entrance procedures will be provided soon.


We have created a Field Decision-Making Tool to help guide you. Remote field education and out-of-sequence field options can also be considered. Contact the Office of Field Education to discuss these options.

  • Students are expected to fulfill the learning activities associated with their field agencies as a first priority.
  • Modification of field activities to include alternative assignments related to anti-racism, and other volunteer activities related to COVID-19, must be developed in consultation and with approval from your field instructor and with the support of your field faculty.
  • All assignments counted toward field hours need to be included in the educational agreement and involve competency development and be reflected in the end of term evaluation.

We anticipate that field education in the fall will include both in-person and remote learning activities, depending on the field site. Field education officially begins the week of August 31 and officially ends on December 17. After Thanksgiving, depending on the needs of the agency, field education can be a hybrid of in-person and remote activities or conducted entirely remotely. In-person field education will include public health and safety measures specific to the field site. You will be expected to adhere to all health and safety protocols and always be mindful of the clients and communities you are serving.

If you are in a scholarship program where the field placement is linked to a geographic area, your field placement must be connected to agencies supported by the scholarship program and cannot be transferred. Contact your field faculty for details.

We know that COVID-19 has created a challenging teaching and learning environment. As you consider how to be successful and get the most out of your MSW education in this new environment, we encourage you to review:

If you have questions about your fall semester, we encourage returning students to be in touch with their advisors and new students to contact the Office of Student Services at ssw-ossoffice@umich.edu. Field questions should be directed to the Office of Field Education at ssw-fieldoffice@umich.edu.


Tim Colenback, Assistant Dean for Student Services
Dan Fischer, Assistant Dean of Field Education
Lorraine Gutiérrez, Associate Dean for Educational Programs
Barb Hiltz, MSW Program Director

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