Navigating a Pandemic, Racial Disparities, and Social Work Education through the Lens of the NASW Code of Ethics

  • Danielle C. Swick University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Yarneccia D. Dyson
  • Elizabeth (Beth) Webb
Keywords: racism, COVID-19, social justice, dignity and worth, human relationships


The COVID-19 pandemic introduced several challenges for social work education. Beyond the blanket effects, the pandemic made clearer the racial health disparities that impact Black Americans—a stress further exacerbated as the United States was rocked by the brutal killings of multiple Black individuals. In the social work profession, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics underlies the delivery of both social work practice and social work education. In this paper, we describe how we used three ethical principles from the NASW Code of Ethics (social justice, dignity and worth, and human relationships) to guide us in altering our department’s approach to social work education during the pandemic in the spirit of social justice, equity, and inclusivity.

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