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COVID-19 Updates from Rutgers University & Rutgers SSW
March 31, 2020

To keep the Rutgers community informed, university leaders are mobilized and involved in all aspects of university operations to address the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19. Visit the universitywide COVID-19 Information website for the most up-to-date information.

Rutgers School of Social Work Information

Rutgers School of Social Work students, faculty, and staff should continue to watch for future communications from the university and School of Social Work. 

Information for Students:

Information for Field Education:

Information for Faculty and PTLs:

E-mail from Dean Cathryn C. Potter to the SSW community on March 16, 2020

Rutgers SSW Community,

As citizens of the world, country, state and community, we are experiencing an unprecedented set of challenges as we respond to the spread of the COVID19 virus.  Truly, we hope this is a once in a lifetime challenge and opportunity to take a strong, proactive, public health approach to a global pandemic.  I want to thank you all for your good grace and good humor, exemplary problem-solving skills, flexibility and patience, in responding to situations and decisions as they evolve.  

As we have all been reminded, there is a need for very strong, social distancing approaches to changing our life-style for a time, in order to limit the spread of the disease, and to “flatten the curve” and prevent spikes in new COVID19 cases.  Universities and communities are making decisions with that goal in mind.  Those decisions are made with the best information at hand at the time.  We may not always agree with every decision, but let us remember that they are made with an eye to community health.  These measures will cause disruptions and frustrations, but they will truly save some lives as well.

As you know, here at SSW are entering uncharted territory as we move all our coursework to online teaching environments.  Associate Dean Curran and our Academic Affairs team have done amazing work to get the CANVAS systems ready for both instructors and students. Our faculty, full-time and part-time lecturers are working tirelessly, and with good cheer, to meet this challenge.  We are well-prepared.  That said, we all expect glitches, as almost all universities push their learning environments to the cloud.  In the coming few weeks, there will be many opportunities for frustration, and I thank you in advance for practicing your self-care skills, and for offering those around you the gift of caring, calm and generosity of spirit.

The temporary suspension of our field education program is, I know, causing particular disruptions to some of our most important partners.  I want you to know that we will return students to field in as timely a way as possible.  Both students and field instructors want to be together, serving clients during this time.  At the same time, both students and clients will benefit from social distancing approaches to the pandemic.  Many thanks to our Field, Student Services, BASW, Ph.D. and DSW Teams who are working tirelessly to support our students and field partners.

Last but not least, our gratitude to our staff, on both the Institute/Center side and school operations side, with a special shout-out to the IT Team.  We are as prepared as we can be for what the future holds, and it is largely due to much behind-the-scenes work by our staff groups. Understanding the financial burden that is caused by loss of work hours, we are taking proactive measures to ensure those who are employed by the school are able to continue working and to receive pay whether on or off site.  Any questions for the business side of the house can be directed to Associate Dean Fortin, who will also keep us apprised of new developments.

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 the arrival of Spring. 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.

The School thanks you for everything you are now doing, and will do, in the coming weeks. Rutgers remains open, though we have curtailed some activities, and are operating in virtual environments for many functions.  During this time, you best mode of communication with our faculty and staff will be through email. Stay in touch with us, and let us know how things are evolving in your corner of the world.  Our very best wishes to all.

Cathryn C. Potter
Dean and Distinguished Professor  
School of Social Work
Rutgers University

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