Field Placement FAQ’s 2020-21

When Does Field Start?

  • October 6th for first year students
  • October 7th for returning students without prearranged early starts
  • EEP Students begin during the week of October 5th

What do I need to do prior to starting Field?

Students and field agency partners are expected to follow local, state, and CDC safety and physical distance policies, and agencies are expected to share their internal protocols with students as well. Students need to:
    • Complete the University of Chicago on-line COVID 19 safety training
    • Sign the COVID-19 Health Requirements Affirmation
    • Sign SSA Field Education Affirmation and Acknowledgement of Risk Form
Students and Field Instructors are instructed to contact the FIeld Consultant and the Field Director if safety protocols cannot be maintained. The Office of Field Education will contact the agency for further assessment prior to determining if a student may return to an in-person placement.

What are my field days?

  • Core/First Placement: Field Days are typically Tuesday and Thursdays 6-8 hours (flexible pending agency)
  • Concentration Placement: Field days are typically Monday, Wednesday, Friday (flexible pending agency)

When is my Field Seminar and is it remote?

Field Seminars are held by Zoom monthly. Dates are listed on the syllabus provided by your Field Consultant. Please check with your Field Consultant for updates and changes.

  • Core first year students field seminars are Thursdays: 8:30 – 10:30
  • Concentration year seminars are Tuesdays or Thursdays
  • EEP field seminars are on Saturdays for first year and 2nd year concentration students.

How many field hours are required for 2020-21?

Hours: Field Hours are reduced as follows due to the ambiguity created by COVID-19. Rather than completing a total of 1120, SSA students must complete a minimum of 850 hours.

Student choice and a flexible range of hours due to COVID-19 is adapted to new and returning students. The number and considerations below apply to students in the full time, part time, and Extended Evening Program paths for 2020-21.
  • Core first Year Students: 400 minimum hours required for the AY spread over 3 quarters; 450 maximum
  • Second/Third year (Concentration): Minimum: 450; Maximum: 600. Note: EEP Concentration students: accrue 450 – 600 hours over years 2 & 3.
  • Monthly field seminars are conducted remotely and count as field hours for 2020-2021. Information will be forwarded if opportunity for in-person attendance becomes available.


  1. Students in the School Social Work Program of Study are required to complete 600 hours in their concentration field placement.
  2. Students in the AODA Program of Study are required to complete a minimum of 500 hours within consecutive quarters.

Can I end my placement when I have met the minimum required hours?

Field placements have beginning, middle, and end phases. Learning occurs over time. Quick endings based on hour accumulation alone cuts off opportunities for students to practice self-advocacy, negotiation, and professional termination skills. 

Smooth transitions take preplanning and thought. Any changes in circumstances should be discussed as they arise and documented when completing the learning agreement and student performance evaluation. Note: abrupt endings are disruptive to students, agencies, project work, and clients and are not permitted without a problem-solving process involving the SSA Field Consultant.

Fall quarter:

  • At SSA, all In-person classes end November 25th and go remote at the Thanksgiving break for the remainder of the quarter which ends December 12th. This is intended to limit exposures and transmission.
  • Students and Field Instructors are encouraged to engage in REMOTE ONLY field activity between November 30th and December 12th per the University of Chicago’s autumn quarter plan.

What are the expanded and alternative options for field learning opportunities?

SSA students may participate in an expanded array of activities that may count as field hours. Examples are:
  • A single field placement as available
  • Skill Labs offered by SSA
  • Participation in virtual or in/person organizing events for social justice causes, mutual aid
  • Volunteer activities organized by the Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement and others
  • Educational and skills based training offered by experts in professional development
  • Consideration of employment-based activities carried out as a social work student

If I am exposed to covid-19 what, if any, actions do I need to take?

Follow your field agencies protocol. If less restrictive than the University of Chicago protocols, please follow University of Chicago guidelines. 
Follow the University of Chicago Protocol:

COVID-19 Exposure

Individuals who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus for at least 10 days since the symptoms first appeared AND 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved. 
Anyone with symptoms should not go to their University destination and should consult their healthcare provider and inform their supervisor or academic leader. Any faculty, academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member who is experiencing symptoms or has been identified as a close contact may call the UChicago Medicine COVID-19 triage hotline for screening, at 773.702.2800. Students should call UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL. 
For additional information please refer to Protocol for COVID-19 Exposures.

If I test positive for covid-19 when can I safely return to field?

You may not return to in-person field until all CDC and local quarantine guidelines are followed. Opportunities to accumulate alternate remote field learning can be added to your learning plan.

In the event that my field placement duties/access change in response to a covid-19 outbreak, what steps can I take?

Inform your Field Consultant right away for assistance in revising your learning agreement. We expect situations will require modifying learning plans to include virtual trainings and skill labs. It is highly unlikely that another field agency will be available.

If I am not a part of the voluntary testing program on campus, where can I find a list of free testing sites?

This link can help you identify sites in Illinois: Please check your local area’s public health websites.