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Coronavirus: Get complete details about the university's response to COVID-19.

College of Social Work

Coronavirus Communications and Resources

Please refer to the page for all communications to students, faculty and staff regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak. Resources for online learning and working from home are also included. 

Communications

College Community

Dear College of Social Work Community,

Social workers have always risen to the occasion, finding ourselves on the frontlines of many tragedies and natural disasters around the globe. We can only be certain that social workers are working on the front lines with thousands, perhaps millions of families impacted by this global pandemic. Hospital, school, community health, or geriatric social workers, child welfare workers, homeless services providers, or case managers are just a few examples of the professionals who are ensuring families who have been or suddenly find themselves unable to pay bills or purchase food remain housed and fed. We are thankful for all the visible and behind-the-scenes work from all social workers.

Times like these call us into action. The College of Social Work, in our efforts to lead with compassion, invite you to consider volunteering your time or donating to organizations in the greater Columbia area who have rolled out programs specifically to help those impacted by COVID-19 or who have seen increased needs. Gestures of any kind are welcome, such as delivering a meal to an older adult, dropping off cleaning supplies at a homeless shelter, or donating to the student or employee relief funds. Altruism may be one act that helps us all get through this pandemic.

If you are looking for ways to engage, please refer to “Local Volunteer Opportunities” under the "Resources" section of this page. This is not meant to be exhaustive of all efforts but to provide an array of opportunities at different engagement levels. We know many of you are already engaged. Please let us know what you’re doing because it is important to highlight the many ways social workers are making a difference during this pandemic.

Be safe. We miss you and look forward to seeing you soon!

In service,

Kirk A. Foster, PhD, MSW, MDiv

Bethany A. Bell, PhD, MPH | Associate Professor| College of Social Work |

Dear COSW community,
I just wanted to reach out and thank you all for how beautifully you are handling the current situation. Staff, faculty and students have selflessly stepped to the plate to help, and we appreciate it. It speaks to the great strength of our college and how well we can work together.

This is a difficult situation for everyone, especially those whom we serve. I know that you are looking out for those who have fewer resources than we do to help them deal with the pandemic and that you will continue to do so.

We are monitoring the situation every hour, and I promise to keep you informed of changes. Social distance does not mean social isolation. We are here for you. Please take care and let us know if we can help.

Best….Dean Sarah Gehlert

Faculty/Staff

Dear Faculty and Staff,

This has been a difficult time for all of us. When the spring semester began, no one could have imagined that Hamilton College would be devoid of students, faculty and staff, and that we would be teaching remotely. Even in these uncertain times, I am grateful that the college community has come together and adjusted to this new normal. Teaching and working from home are not ideal, but I want to thank all our faculty and instructors for continuing to provide a quality social work education for students and our staff for maintaining the daily business and operations.

COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health crisis that has changed all our lives. While no one knows when we will return to a semblance of normality, remaining positive is important to our self-care. Here’s a few thoughts on how to remain upbeat:

  • Take time out to enjoy your family, friends, and those who are important to you. There’s no greater comfort than surrounding yourself with those you love in these unsettling times.
  • Take breaks. Coffee, exercise, dog walks, daily meditation -- whatever will help you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by social media and a good way to keep perspective.
  • Try something new. Now is a great time to learn a new cooking skill, practice another language, or see many of the world’s best museums which have virtual tours. It can be uplifting.
  • Appreciation – it’s vital to our survival. I’ve found connecting with old friends and helping others has a calming and satisfying effect on my feelings and relationships.

Again, thank you to everyone for your flexibility and understanding. Our college is a wonderful community, and it has been encouraging and inspiring to see everyone work together to best accommodate our students, community partners and other individuals and groups. There is no crisis the College of Social Work cannot overcome.

As we plan for the college’s reopening and the best way to honor our graduating students, please continue to support one another through your actions and words. We will make it through this difficult period and come out a stronger, unified college. Our thoughts are with you and your families. Please stay safe.

Best... Dean
Sarah Gehlert

Dear colleagues,

As you might have seen in the newspaper this morning, 11 UofSC students and one faculty member have tested positive for COVID-19. And, this is just those who were tested and received their results. Many others are awaiting results, which seem to be taking four days. Please do continue to take precautions. Although these students traveled internationally, a 12th student who has been in a residence hall on campus was just diagnosed. The virus is becoming more prevalent. If we are careful, we can minimize its effect.

Thanks to all of you, we seem ready to start classes on Monday. This will inject some normalcy, and I hope calm our students (and all the rest of us).

Best….Dean Sarah Gehlert

We have been told not to work in the Hamilton College building. It undoes the benefit of cleaning to enter offices that have been deep cleaned. Also, exposure to the chemicals used in cleaning might be harmful right after they have been used (and we do not know when that will be).

We realize that you might need to get into your office to pick up something. If so, contact me beforehand. And, go in and out without spending more time than necessary.

Again, thanks for your patience. While it is inconvenient, the important thing is for all to be safe and to have a building that is safe for student when they return.

Best….Dean Sarah Gehlert

Students

Dear Students,

As we head into the end of the semester, and for some of you, the close of your time at the university, I’m gratified to see your commitment to your education and to becoming great advocates for social work. It’s been wonderful to see the university community come together to confront challenges that none of us envisioned only a few short weeks ago. We have depopulated the campus for safety purposes, made accommodations for students unable to leave campus, and revamped our curriculum for remote teaching to ensure your well-being.

COVID-19 has clearly altered our lives. We have never seen anything like this before. While there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the future, I hope you are remaining optimistic. A few thoughts on remaining upbeat:

  • Take time out to enjoy your family, friends, and those who are important to you. There’s no greater comfort than surrounding yourself with those you love in these unsettling times.
  • Take breaks. Coffee, exercise, dog walks, daily meditation -- whatever will help you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by social media and a good way to keep perspective.
  • Try something new. Now is a great time to learn a new cooking skill, practice another language, or see many of the world’s best museums which have virtual tours. It can be uplifting.
  • Appreciation – it’s vital to our survival. I’ve found connecting with old friends and helping others has a calming and satisfying effect on my feelings and relationships.

Know that our faculty are working hard at continuing your education in a meaningful and productive manner. We are making plans for the best way to honor those of you who are graduating. Our college is wonderful community. Your actions and words of encouragement to our faculty make us feel supported and united within the university community. I’m proud to be a part of it, and I hope you are too. Our thoughts are with you and your families as well. Please stay safe.

Best... Dean Sarah Gehlert

I hope this email finds you well! I’m reaching out to encourage you as you return to your classes remotely this week. Together, I know we CAN do this!!

As you start your full online adventure, first and foremost, please remember to be kind to yourself! We are all adjusting to some (minor or maybe major) lifestyle changes. So, as you think about learning online, here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Quality of Education: We are experiencing very unique circumstances right now. Our faculty are dedicated and committed to providing you with the very best quality of education we can; however, it won’t be perfect. That is OK!!!! Let’s be generous with one another and ourselves, and offer each other the benefit of the doubt that we are all doing our very best.  
  • Technology: Many of you have taken or are currently taking an online course. If so, then you know that online teaching and learning are NOT the same as in the classroom. Often times the style, methodology, and experiences are very different. That is also OK! Instructors will be adjusting to and learning this new style of teaching, and you may also be adjusting to a new way of learning. Let’s be flexible and curious about these new ways!
  • Priorities: As many of you know, I am not only an instructor, but also a student working on my DSW. When I started my fully online DSW Program last year, I was taught the DDD approach to time management and prioritization. The three Ds stand for delay, delete, or delegate. If you start to feel overwhelmed, think about what you can put off for another day or week, what you can let go of, and what you can ask somebody to help you with. This technique has helped me tremendously. Feel free to give it a try!  
  • Communication: What I have learned most so far over the last two weeks, is that we all really appreciate our contact with one another. I would like to encourage you to continue reaching out to your instructors, your fellow classmates, and to me. There is great comfort in knowing we are all still here for one another. 
  • Assignments: Likely, your instructors will be making modifications to your assignments. If so, they have been asked to focus on the most important concepts or ideas for your learning in these last few weeks of the semester. If you have any questions or concerns about these modified assignments, please reach out to your instructor right away. Waiting until the assignment is due or past due to get help can be stressful for both you and the instructor. Be proactive and reach out!

We all have different perspectives and approaches to learning, which is what makes us awesome social workers! Please know that I value and appreciate all of you, and I am here to encourage and support you during this time. Let’s just breathe, take this “new normal” one day at a time, and find all of the good in what this experience can bring us.

Take care of you and stay well,

Rhonda DiNovo, LMSW, MSW
MSW Program Coordinator
Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies, Coordinator

I hope my email finds you and your loved ones all doing well! By now you have likely been in touch with your instructors and with other classmates to share resources and provide support to one another during these uncertain and challenging times. I hope you will continue to do so, and as we prepare to begin classes again next week online, I wanted to share a few additional resources that I thought may be helpful to you.

In case you haven't heard, some publishers are making their textbooks available online at no cost until May 25:

Also, Spectrum is offering free WiFi to households with K-12/college students who don’t already have internet through the company. You can call the number provided in the news article to get set up.

Please know that I speak on behalf of the entire college’s faculty and staff when I say that although we may not be together physically right now, we are still one community committed to continuing our teaching, encouraging, and supporting you through the program. If you have any questions, concerns, or hardships as a result of the COVID-19 impact, please reach out to us so that we can work with you to get support and resources.

I’ll stay in touch with you, and I hope you will do the same. Stay well, and take good care of you!

Rhonda DiNovo, LMSW, MSW
MSW Program Coordinator
Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies, Coordinator


Resources

Homeless Shelters: If food pantries start to run low on food, due to panic buying at grocery stores, it can also disrupt the food supply for local homeless shelters, which depend on food donations to feed the needy.

  • Washington Street Methodist Church needs chips, granola bars, snack crackers and other individual-sized goods to hand out in lieu of soup.
  • Transitions is in need of money to purchase cleaning equipment, disposable plasticware and protective gear.
  • Mental Illness Recovery Center works to combat homelessness and mental illness in the Midlands. The center is asking for monetary donations to meet clients’ transportation and counseling needs, as well as hand sanitizer, soap, gloves and masks.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

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