Even with COVID-19 measures in place, students in the Family and Human Services Program are providing in-person and remote services to more than 98 sites across Lane County and the U.S. this fall.
Eighty-six students in the College of Education program are registered to work in diverse community programs, including substance abuse centers, food pantries and youth groups. Though some sites paused their services, many moved to remote functioning, allowing students to continue with their field placements this fall.
“Although a few agencies are not able to take our students because of budget cuts and other complications, new agencies have asked to become FHS field sites and are eager for our students,” Family and Human Services professor Krista Chronister said.
Students chose whether they wanted to work in an in-person or remote environment, ensuring that all students can continue their path toward a degree while serving their communities.
“FHS is one of the more diverse undergraduate student bodies on the UO campus with regard to race, ethnicity, LGBTQ-identified students and Spanish-speaking students,” Chronister said. “This rich diversity means that our students are able to serve a diverse array of agencies and populations and who speak different languages as well.”
All in-person sites must adhere to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines, including wearing masks, checking for fevers and social distancing. Program administrators will be monitoring sites through surveys and telephone check-ins to ensure that they are following protocols.
“The benefits of in-person field services are the human-to-human contact and relationship development that is so critical to engaging children and families in services and fostering their well-being, especially during this very difficult, painful pandemic when mental health challenges are on the rise,” Chronister said.
Students working in person are not only able to engage in play and other activities that cannot be replicated online but also learn directly from professional agency staff members.
Students can also work remotely, ensuring the health and safety of the student and their client. Remote care also allows students living outside Lane County to continue toward their degree and serve their local communities.
Family and Human Services student Victoria Allen-Harvey participated in field-site experiences in person last year at the Department of Human Services and the Jasper Mountain SAFE Center. This fall, however, she is working remotely with Transition Education Network, a special education program in Sheldon High School.
“I’m really looking forward to building relationships with the kids at Sheldon TEN and better understanding their learning needs,” Allen-Harvey said. “I also hope to draw connections between what I am learning in my special education minor and what is being taught to the diverse learners of this program.”
—By Meghan Mortensen, College of Education