This is the final of four memos providing Academic Affairs guidance from CUNY. ​

By J. Michael Parrish


Update on Clinical Placements  

Clinical Placements – Education Programs

As of Monday, March 16, education students who are participating in clinical placements for fieldwork or student teaching required by their academic program, and their faculty supervisors, should not report to school/field sites until further notice.  Individual school sites and cooperating teachers should be notified. CUNY will continue its consultation with NYSED and DOE, and resources regarding alternative methods for clinical preparation will be made available to colleges. In instances where college requirements exceed state requirements for certification, colleges should consider waiving college requirements above those of the state, if academically appropriate. College deans and chairs should contact Dr. Ashleigh Thompson, University Dean for Education ( for questions or guidance.  

Clinical Placements – HHS Programs

Previously, the Office of Academic Affairs has shared important information with campus HHS leaders about how to request and secure permission from NYSED to move clinical placements into a distance learning modality (for more info contact, Dr. Patricia Simino Boyce (, University Dean for Health and Human Services (see thread below). 

Today, I wanted to call your attention to exciting work being done out of the School of Professional Studies.  Specifically, the school has followed previous guidance about submitting a plan to NYSED for which they received quick approval.  Their plan included the following options, among others:

For graduate students SPS is employing some of the above in addition to 

They have also reached out to their faculty to identify free online resources and activities and building a resource site in our CUNY SPS Nursing Faculty blackboard site for faculty to utilize. The School is advising clinical faculty to “meet” with their students weekly online via Collaborate, or other video chat sharing means, with the understanding that the University is also going to make WebEx access available for faculty. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about these opportunities to contact Dr. Marge Reilley (, Academic Director for Nursing, School of Professional Studies.


Guidance for Private Sector Internships

CUNY students working as interns with private sector employers should abide by the internal protocol of their internship site. In addition to the work site’s coronavirus policy, students that are sick or have knowingly been in contact with anyone who is sick should notify their internship manager and CUNY Program Manager or contact immediately. If the site remains open and is allowing interns to work they can do so. We ask that all students and supervisors touch base to work on a course of action. Some students may be working with individuals in vulnerable populations, so we ask that supervisors and students use their best judgement regarding this. Companies/organizations may institute telecommuting/work from home policies that apply to students. Students should confirm that they have the tools they need to do this effectively and can reach out to Brandi Mandato, Director of Sector Innovation, at with any questions or concerns. 

Guidance for Campus- Based Internships 

Similar to the guidance for public sector internships, students and supervisors should abide by the protocols and policies set by the institution. If not already established, each campus should identify a contact person for questions related to campus-based internships. 

Guidance for Public-Sector and Non-profit Sector Internships

All CUNY Internship Programs interns are expected to work as normal at their internship locations until further notice. If the site remains open and is allowing interns to work they can do so. Some students may be working with individuals in vulnerable populations, so we ask that supervisors and students use their best judgement regarding this. In addition to the work site’s coronavirus policy, students that are sick or have knowingly been in contact with anyone who is sick should notify their internship manager and CUNY Internship Program, Program Manager or contact immediately. If agencies move to telecommuting/work from home policies, we will update you on procedures. Also, please inform us ASAP if any of these policies are officially instituted at your agency.   

Guidance for credit bearing internships

In order for students to maintain enrollment in their spring 2020 academic and not lose credit(s) toward their majors or graduation, below are some guidelines campus faculty may wish to employ:  

  1. Students and faculty confer via email, phone, or conference regarding remaining assignments for spring 2020 academic internship placements
  2. Students and/or faculty confer with placement site supervisors and discuss the following:
    1. If placement sites continue to operate, what measures in place to guarantee the health and safety of student interns, as well as substantive internship assignments for students while they serve and learn?
    2. If placement sites are not operating or are no longer hosting staff/interns, how can/will work assignments delegated to students?
  3. Suggestion for completion of academic internships given the distance learning approach at CUNY, in case of closure of placement sites, which include but are not limited to:
    1. Remote academic assignments: In addition to remaining syllabus based academic assignments, students enrolled in credit bearing internships may be asked to complete and submit a 5 to 10-page double spaced paper that will address the following student experiences:

   i.      Provide a complete summary and explanation of the organizational structure and functions of their internship placement site (through March 13)                       ii.      Details the organizational goal(s) of the internship placement site                       iii.      Provide details on how the placement site works to achieve its goals                       iv.      Explain whether or not the existing organizational structure of the site enables the outfit to achieve its goals

v.      Students provide accounts of how their academic internship experiences (to date) lend support to their efforts to achieve career success in the organizational environment where they have served (to date).

  1. If available on campus, faculty can use Learning Management System (LMS) platforms to assign weekly professional development training with a reflection write up assignment at the end of each training.
  2. In addition, the guidance tools above may be applied to CUNY Service Corps students, who can be given the opportunity to complete their 240 hours via remote assignments in cases in which partner organizations suspend operations and students cannot perform on site service. Likewise, if students are unable to complete their internships under the existing guidelines for CUNY RF and tax levy employees. Options may include remote work on projects that benefit partner organization missions, or internal Service Corps program/mission.  Specific guidance provided by each campus may vary depending on the unique situation of that school, however, students’ health, safety, and experiential learning should be prioritized so that students can continue to earn both their academic credential and funding via paid programs such as Service Corps.

Update on Continuing Education

As campuses think through their continuing education portfolios, please know that CIO Brian Cohen and his team have been working with our Office of Adult Continuing Education on the possibility of making Blackboard tools widely available for those considering moving some of their offerings to distance learning.  Specifically, yesterday, CIS met with Blackboard’s Vice President for North America Education and raised the ACE and adult literacy needs as one of the University’s highest priorities. They will get back to us regarding options and any technical and contract issues related to the increased need.  Please understand, that there will be challenges in moving this quickly and in this direction since continuing ed programs across the university are not standardized on heir data.  In addition, there is no central place where we can retrieve course and student data to enable courses and users in our enterprise Blackboard system. Nevertheless, CIS is actively engaged to help.  Under these circumstances and in light of urgent need, CIS is also exploring independent solutions for each college where they will have to enable courses and students locally. While not the best solution this approach may be the fastest with an understanding that the colleges will have to consider support concerns.​