As citizens of the world, we are experiencing an unprecedented set of challenges as we respond to the spread of COVID-19. We hope this is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge while also being an opportunity to take a strong, proactive public health approach to a global pandemic. And, throughout this, we want you to know that you and your loved ones are in our thoughts.
I am emailing to update you on the actions we are taking to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. By now, you have likely read about some of the precautions we are taking to protect our community: course instruction will be delivered online starting March 23, when students return from spring break; our faculty and staff are working remotely; and university-wide events such as Alumni Weekend have been canceled. We are also in constant communication with University leadership, field agencies, and others in our community whose operations are impacted by these changes. These decisions are being made with the best information available and with an eye toward community health. As we continue to monitor the situation and adjust plans as needed, we will notify you of changes. If you have any questions about what is happening, we invite you to reach out to us.
While these measures will truly save lives, they will also cause disruptions, including lost wages, transportation issues, and food insecurity for many of our students. I want to thank those of you who have reached out to express your concern for our students as well as your generous offers to help. For those interested in supporting students during this difficult time, gifts can be made to our Academic Excellence Fund. Gifts made to this fund through the end of the semester will provide emergency funds for School of Social Work students in this time of need and uncertainty.
We are going to learn some things, as social workers, during this time. We are going to recognize how much we need enhanced technology-aided intervention models and skills. We are going to learn a lot about community and personal anxiety-reduction needs and models. We are going to learn how to slow down the pace of life for a time, and how to manage the things our frenetic lives sometimes mask. We are going to enjoy the beauty of spring and the countless acts of selflessness and humanity we will see in our communities. We are going to have time to practice creative self-care approaches, and appreciate and care for those closest to us. I look forward to the conversations we will have about the lessons learned and the changes we will effect because of them.
All of us at the School of Social Work continue to keep you and your loved ones in our thoughts, and we thank you for your continued support. If we can be of any assistance to you as you navigate these challenges, please reach out.
Cathryn C. Potter
Dean and Distinguished Professor
Rutgers School of Social Work