COVID-19 Externship Policy Update

March 12, 2020

Dear externs and site supervisors,

As some of you know, last night, the University of Arizona made the decision to move all classes online that can be moved online. Many of you have asked how this policy will apply to externships. I have attached the contingency plan we sent to all of you yesterday below. Some clarifying language specific to this situation:

  • Site supervisors are encouraged to permit students to work remotely if the students want to, but students do not have to work remotely if they do not want to and the field placement office or chambers is open.
  • Students and site supervisors should work together to develop a plan so that the student can satisfy their required externship hours, whether that be through working remotely, working in-person, or a combination of remote and in-person work. If the student and site supervisor are unable to come to an agreement, both are encouraged to reach out to me to see if other arrangements can be made that will satisfy both parties.
  • Please direct all questions about the policy below to me, the externship faculty supervisor.

I hope that clears up any areas of confusion, but please reach out to me if it doesn’t. Thank you again for your patience and understanding.


COVID-19 Externship Policy

As we consider the possibility that the spread of the COVID-19 illness may disrupt our students’ ability to attend meetings at the Law College and/or continue externing at their externship field placement sites, we are implementing the following policy to help students and site supervisors make contingency plans:

  1. Student externs and/or externship faculty supervisors will contact all site supervisors to set up a contingency plan for each student extern in the event that the virus disrupts the student’s ability to continue working on site.
       a. The preferred accommodation is to allow the student to telecommute and complete work on ongoing matters for the site.
       b. Alternatively, if a site determines that a student may not work on ongoing matters outside of the office/chambers, accommodations should be made to assign the student research projects unrelated to ongoing matters that can be completed off-site.
  2. Students are encouraged to work with site supervisors now to ensure that they have the technological capacity and information necessary to work remotely should that need arise.
  3. If students are ill, they should not go to their externship site until they have recovered. Students should notify both their site supervisor and faculty supervisor immediately if they are unable to go to their externship site.
  4. Should the law school move all instruction online, all students and field supervisors will be notified. Field supervisors will be encouraged, but not required, to permit students to telecommute, even if the rest of the workplace will not be telecommuting. Students should submit all course assignments to their faculty supervisor via email, and any conferences will be conducted online via Zoom or telephone. Students will be expected to keep weekly contact with faculty supervisors.
  5. If a student is unable to complete the requisite number of externship field placement hours by the end of the semester due to issues related to COVID-19, the student’s faculty supervisor will assess each situation on a case-by-case basis. The student may be provided with research or writing assignments to complete required hours. Alternatively, the student may be given an incomplete and additional time to complete the field placement hours and other course requirements.
  6. Arizona Law’s first priority is the safety of its students and community. Therefore, notwithstanding the foregoing, any student or field supervisor is encouraged to notify the faculty supervisor if they feel their safety or the safety of others will be compromised by a strict implementation of this plan. Our response to this situation is evolving as we obtain further information, and exceptions to this plan may be made if they are determined by the faculty supervisor to be necessary to preserve health and safety.

Shannon E. Trebbe
Assistant Dean for Career Development
Professor of Practice

Additional Information

Additional details and guidance from University of Arizona Law on the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

More Information