An open letter to SLP students regarding Covid 19

Here is the way I see things:  As a college professor, many of my students are very concerned about getting their hours, their coursework, and even their diplomas.  The undergraduates are looking for their observation hours, the first-year graduate students are looking for their clinical hours and the second-year students are looking to keep their internships. And they all have concerns about finishing their coursework on time and graduating on time. Nothing is guaranteed anymore.  

When I talk to them and read their emails, I can hear the concerns in their voices and rightfully so.  With Covid 19, things are changing by the hour in all of our worlds. Here is my message to them:

I believe in you and I believe in us. I believe in the other faculty I work with and our drive to swiftly and effectively change to a virtual setting.  I believe in our profession and the SLPs that have come before us and those who are working in the trenches now. 

Since the eruption of the virus, I have been so impressed by regular SLPs, like me, who have very quickly launched Telepractice Zoom training meetings to those of us who are not experienced with telepractice, so we can begin learning to see how to make this a viable option for us.  

Big companies, such as Simucase and Master Clinician, are opening their doors for programs so we can help students get your much needed clinical hours.  

Facebook communities, already dedicated to topics such as clinical supervision and CFY supervision, are banning together, helping one another thoroughly think through a variety of solutions so SLPs will have the ability to complete ASHA requirements.  

Our online communities are banning together and so much good is being done and we are moving forward, preparing for the changes that we need to make to meet your needs.

If you have not heard a lot of specifics from your supervisors, this is for two reasons:  first, we are very hard at work organizing, problem-solving, solution-finding and exploring options to move forward and get you those hours and complete that coursework that you need.  And second, we are having multiple meetings amongst ourselves and with faculty nationwide, so we present a united front to you, giving you confidence in that we know what we are doing and to decrease your anxiety and uncertainty.  

We are a team and this will change us, however, no matter how hard we work, time is moving along and there are no guarantees.  There is no guarantee that you will move forward in your program as originally planned and indeed, no guarantee that you will graduate on time and move forward into your career as planned.  If timelines are not met, they will be moved back and tasks will be adjusted. We aren’t in control of some things but we are in control of how we react to these challenges.  

There is a guarantee that I, and many other dedicated professors, will collaborate together as never before, to learn what we need to learn and problem solve like we never have to give you the best solutions that we can.  

The big picture is that things will be okay and things will work out.  The big picture is getting through this pandemic and becoming better, more compassionate people because of our trials.  We as a profession, are coming together more now than we ever have.  

You will get your hours, you will get your degree.  It may or may not happen on your original timeline but it will happen.  We stand behind you, are working hard for and with you, and we will all cheer so loudly when you cross that stage for your diploma. Although it may be a virtual stage and we will be clapping from a safe social distance and are rooting for you!!  This will happen. 🙂

**Note: This article is written from my personal perspective and does not represent the views of the university where I teach or AHSA.  

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