Social Work Warriors and COVID-19

Sheryl KubiakUpdated: 05/15/2020

Hello all,

With the rapid changes to the way we communicate, work, live and support one another during the COVID-19 outbreak, we at The Wayne State School of Social Work are committed to supporting our Detroit community with resources and opportunities to connect with one another.

Our executive team in the School of Social Work – along with our university partners – are interested in the health and safety of each and every member of our community. We remain deeply committed to our students, faculty, staff and community, and have implemented the following areas of focus:

  • FACULTY and FIELD: The week of March 16th we worked closely with faculty and staff to provide them with the support and resources needed to deliver class content in an online context and to work remotely. 
  • STUDENT ONLINE INSTRUCTION: The week of March 23 (and thereafter) we focused intensively on assisting students as they began their online courses to ensure they had the necessary support needed to successfully complete the semester. 
  • COMMUNITY NEEDS:  As we stabilized our online and virtual operations, during the week of March 30th we began to mobilize our faculty, staff, students and alumni toward the collective needs of our community. We are working closely with the University and local organizations to support all of our community members. Below you will find details on these initiatives.  

The times ahead are uncertain at best. But we are and will remain 'WARRIOR STRONG' social workers!  I am filled with gratitude for the immense time and effort many have already displayed as we adjust to this 'new day'.  We will continue to be called upon in the coming months. I know that we will all do what we can – while taking care of self and family – to help those most devastated by this pandemic and rebuild our city.

Wishing continued good health to you and yours,

Sheryl Kubiak, Dean


Supporting our Detroit area community

It is important to all of us as social workers that we contribute to the well-being of the community and support one another during this time. We have launched the following initiatives to assist our fellow Detroiters.

  • COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Support Hotline – We have partnered with the College of Nursing and additional WSU departments to offer a hotline service for healthcare workers in Metro Detroit.  The goal of this project is to offer support and resources to these front-line healthcare providers to help them through these very demanding times. Hotline services are free, completely confidential, and anonymous. The hotline (1-888-910-1636) is open Monday - Saturday from 5 am - 9 pm. Learn about volunteer opportunities.
  • Social Work Warriors In Action Support List - Amid the pandemic, we are making efforts to support agencies and community partners challenged by the consequences of self-quarantine or with limited access to necessities. There are several agencies in need of assistance.  We have organized a list of needs that will be updated weekly with new organizations. If your organization is in need of a resource and you would like to be added to the list, please contact Kendra Wells at kendrajwells@wayne.edu
  • Detroit Community Resource List – The SSW has compiled a list of resources (health, mental health counseling, unemployment, housing, energy, food, water, emergency financial assistance, transportation, child and youth learning, and internet and cell phone services) for Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties. This will be updated regularly as contacts and resources become available.
  • COVID-19 patient improvement and well-being initiative – Activities are being organized with Detroit area hospital partners, local organizations and Social Work students to assemble care packages for those currently in the hospital experiencing loneliness and anxiety. Care packages will include donated items such as books, cell phone chargers and iPads. We are also partnering with local agencies to print and hang artwork in the rooms of those isolated in the hospital. 
  • COVID-19 mobile testing sites - Social Work students and faculty have assisted in the phone case management portion of the WSU COVID-19 mobile testing site project to help individuals who test positive for COVID-19 manage barriers that arise when isolating themselves and family members. 

Social Work Warrior expertise

We have a plethora of experts within the School that can provide support to our community throughout this time. We have published the following COVID-19 related tip sheets to support our community and have additional resources in the pipeline. Please share these widely!

Additional Resources:

Self-care

This is an unprecedented time in everyone's lives and it is easy to put self-care on the back burner. I encourage you to take a moment and peruse some of the resources below. As Social Work Associate Professor Suzanne Brown and Part-time Faculty member and yoga instructor, Caitlin Brown noted in their recent blog Managing anxiety during the COVID 19 outbreak, "In the end, while we may have little control over our circumstances, we do have control over our responses. Compassion, presence in the moment, altruism, and action align with our social work values, and offer powerful responses to our present circumstances."

Stay connected

I encourage you to regularly check this page for updates on resource and volunteer opportunities. We have also created a Student Hub page to provide Social Work students with up-to-date information on our weekly virtual student town hall events, resources, field updates, student support and more. Wayne State has established a comprehensive COVID-19 resource page and NASW and NASW-MI have materials online specifically related to social work and COVID-19. We will continue to share information on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages – please follow, like and share. 

Upcoming events

During this time, we are shifting gears and working on ways to stay connected with our community using virtual platforms. Please stay tuned as we work to provide resources, information and ways to connect via virtual live events and online materials. I encourage you to check our website, social media pages and your email for information on new upcoming virtual events such as our free Lunchtime Yoga and Meditation Series and the many opportunities available for you to stay in touch.

Building update

Although Wayne State's campus is open, the School of Social Work building is temporarily closed to visitors as faculty and staff are working off-site. We are still here and available via email (sswadmissions@wayne.edu) or phone (313-577-4409) for questions and resources. Please don't hesitate to reach out.