Georgetown Law Fall 2020 FAQ
Updated July 29, 2020
Fall Online Start
How does the Law Center plan to start the fall semester?
We are now planning for a remote start to classes for at least the first four weeks of the semester. We will be online at least through the week of September 21-26. We will continue to monitor the situation and plan to add hybrid elements as the pandemic permits. We will give three weeks notice in advance of adding hybrid elements to allow for travel, testing, and quarantine time for those who wish to participate in-person on campus.
Now that the Law Center is starting online, will students still have to do COVID-19 testing? If so, when and where?
The timeline may shift, but testing protocols will remain the same for any allowed campus access. We are working with One Medical, a leading primary care provider network, to provide testing, including at-home and in-person, and a mobile application for daily self-attestations of symptoms, at no charge. Georgetown has created a detailed FAQ with more information on COVID-19 testing protocols. Additional information is being emailed to every law student about how and when to get tested before arriving on campus, in anticipation that the school may adopt a hybrid model of instruction that permits in-person participation in classes. These emails and the at-home testing kits are being sent in phases, depending on when students need to arrive on campus.
When do law students need to be in DC?
Students who wish to participate remotely do not need to be in DC. If we decide to move to a hybrid model, we will give three-weeks notice to allow for travel, testing, and quarantine time for those who wish to participate in-person on campus.
How will this announcement impact Gewirz residents?
The Law Center’s Gewirz Student Center is opening as scheduled for those students who have already reserved a room. The Law Center’s Office of Student Life will be in touch with more details in the coming days, including information about required testing protocols.
Will Gewirz residents be required to quarantine in the dorm?
On Monday, July 24, 2020, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an order requiring people traveling into Washington, DC from high-risk states to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District. The list of high-risk states is posted on DC’s COVID-19 website and DC has announced that it will update the list every other Monday. Please check this website to see if you are traveling from a state designated as high-risk by DC. If you are residing in Gewirz and traveling to DC from a high-risk state, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. Please refer to the DC quarantine rules here.
If you are traveling to DC from an international location, the CDC has advised that you should self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. Consequently, if you are residing in Gewirz and traveling to DC from an international location, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. The DC quarantine protocols will apply.
For students already in DC, are they allowed to come to campus if COVID-19 testing requirements are met?
No. At this point in time, we are not offering programs or opportunities on campus. If we are able, we hope to be able to offer study spaces, on a reservation basis, and even some opportunities for students to gather in person.
How will incoming law students complete Orientation?
Orientation for incoming JD and LL.M. students will take place virtually August 24-28, 2020. For more information, visit the Orientation website.
How will this decision impact tuition?
Georgetown Law Center bases its tuition on the expertise and quality of its faculty and staff. Nevertheless, in recognition of the impacts of the pandemic and the technology, transportation, and other costs to students in the pivot from a hybrid to a virtual model, we will adjust tuition downward for the Fall semester for law students by 5%. This is consistent with the Fall tuition adjustment for all Georgetown University graduate and professional students.
How will the 5% tuition reduction work?
Tuition charges will be recalculated to be 5% lower on the week of August 10. Students already charged the higher tuition rate as of that date will see a reversal of tuition on their student account. Students not yet charged tuition will have the original charge be the discounted charge. New billing statements, reflecting the lower rate, will be issued shortly thereafter. Students who have already paid in full will have a credit balance on their student account and may request a refund via MyAccess. Students on a payment plan will see their installment payments automatically recalculate by August 17.
If a student utilizes education loan assistance, then the student cost of attendance will be adjusted to ensure that the loan dollars originally routed to this portion of tuition may instead be utilized to pay for additional expenses incurred. The student may also choose to return without penalty any excess federal loan funds not needed within 120 days of disbursement. Students receiving full scholarships will see their scholarships reduced in an equal amount to the tuition reduction.
How does this decision impact international students? What plans should international students make for the Fall semester?
We recognize this is an especially challenging time for our international students. International students are encouraged to visit the International Student Services website and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their situation and any concerns.
How should students traveling from outside the U.S. handle COVID-19 testing?
We are working with One Medical, a leading primary care provider network, to provide testing and a mobile application for daily self-attestations of symptoms, at no charge. Georgetown has created a detailed FAQ with more information on COVID-19 testing protocols. Additional information is being emailed to every law student about how and when to get tested before arriving on campus, in anticipation that the school may adopt a hybrid model of instruction that permits in-person participation in classes.
In addition, if you are traveling to DC from an international location, the CDC has advised that you should self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival.
Updated July 24, 2020
HEALTH AND SAFETY
What measures will the Law Center take with respect to public health and safety?
In his message to the Georgetown community, President DeGioia outlined the University’s comprehensive public health framework. Additional details on the University’s plans are outlined in a document submitted to the city as part of the ReOpen DC plan announced by Mayor Bowser on May 21.
We are working with One Medical, a leading primary care provider network, to provide testing, including at-home and in-person, and a mobile application for daily self-attestations of symptoms, at no charge to you. The University has created a detailed FAQ with more information on COVID-19 testing protocols.
What does “hybrid” mean?
For our purposes, the term “hybrid” means that our students can choose whether to participate in the classroom or remotely on a day-by-day basis, regardless of whether there is a faculty member present in the room. Professors will be given the same choice. Thus, for almost all of our classes in the fall, there may be students in the classroom, students remote, and faculty either remote or in person. One reason we have chosen this model is because our students have asked us to provide a format in which they can be together, even when their professor is not present. If professors choose to teach remotely, their class will still be assigned a classroom, and students may choose to participate in-person.
When making plans for the fall, please keep in mind that the Law Center may be required, or need, to return to fully remote instruction at any time. The hybrid plan is subject to approval by the District of Columbia and the path of the pandemic.
Are students required to attend class in-person?
No. Our policy is that students who have concerns about attending class in-person may attend remotely. We are not requiring you to support your choices with medical documentation. You are free to select a mix of remote and in-person attendance, and to change your choices on a day-by-day basis (some faculty in experiential classes may request a little advance notice of student choices for planning purposes). At various times during the summer and fall, we may ask you to predict whether you will attend in-person or remotely, to assist with our planning. We will never ask you to make a binding choice, although once you indicate that you never intend to participate in-person, for example that you plan to live outside the greater D.C. region, we will need a week’s advance notice if you change your mind and decide to participate in-person.
What is our policy on asynchronous learning?
We expect the vast majority of classes will require synchronous participation, meaning students will be expected to participate during the time scheduled for the class. A few professors will assign some asynchronous lessons in place of some synchronous meetings.
For example, in a few four-credit classes, students will meet synchronously for three hours each week and be asked to watch a video or listen to a podcast to fulfill the fourth hour. These courses are listed in the curriculum guide with the message, “Class will meet for three hours each week, with fourth hour of weekly course content delivered asynchronously.”
What steps are being taken to ensure students who choose to participate in class remotely will not be disadvantaged?
We are doing everything we can to ensure that students who participate remotely will not be at a disadvantage. We are committed to ensuring all students receive quality instruction and have the ability to engage fully in their classes, regardless of how they participate. As faculty prepare for the fall, they are learning best practices for teaching in a hybrid environment.
Are professors required to teach in-person?
We are giving our faculty something akin to what we are providing students: the flexibility to decide for themselves whether they feel comfortable appearing in-person. We are embracing this policy informed in part by the successful move to remote teaching this past spring and summer semesters, even as we understand that some of you hope to have your professors appear in-person at least some of the time.
Will students know which classes will have in-person faculty before classes begin?
No. We have asked our faculty to make preliminary assessments about their plans. As of now, many of our faculty hope to teach in-person at least some of the time, but many are likely to teach solely online. In light of the pandemic, it is still too early, however, to ask our faculty to make binding decisions. We cannot yet guess nor announce which professors will appear in class and which will not. This information will not appear anywhere in the Curriculum Guide, and we ask you to please not ask your professors about their plans. We hope you will respect their privacy and decision making.
If having an in-person teacher is vital to you, you will have a chance to hear from professors about their plans during the first week of class, before the add/drop deadline. We are exploring ways to give you more information during this period than usual, for example allowing you to receive copies of syllabi for courses for which you are on the waitlist.
Will every 1L student have professors who teach in-person?
We are not yet sure, but based on current faculty needs, it is likely there will be 1L students who have no professors who teach in-person. Again, we are designing the hybrid model to try to replicate the in-person experience, even when the professor is not present. In addition, we are developing enhancements for the in-class experience for those who choose to participate, such as hiring teaching fellows who work closely with professors and appear in the classroom.
Will students who choose to participate in-person be guaranteed a seat every day?
Only for some classes. Some classes will be assigned to a classroom large enough to hold all of their enrolled students. Students in these classes can come sit in the classroom every day, if they so choose. Other classes, however, will have more enrolled students than can fit in their assigned classrooms, due to room constraints. We cannot know until after registration which classes will fit in their classrooms, so this information will not appear in the Curriculum Guide.
We are still working through the details about how you will know when you will have a seat available. We are developing a system that is clear, easy-to-understand, and predictable.
Have there been adjustments to the fall calendar?
Yes. There are two changes at this time. First, we will hold classes on Monday, October 12th, rather than take the day off for a “mid-semester break” (once called “Columbus Day”). We will provide additional details soon.
Second, all classes after Saturday, November 21st, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, will be held remotely through the end of the term. Note, we will continue to hold classes the week of Thanksgiving and the week after Thanksgiving, but those classes will be conducted remotely only.
How will exams be administered?
All exams will be remote and take-home.
If I am in a time zone other than the United States Eastern Time (ET), will I be expected to participate in class synchronously (i.e., at the same time that the class is scheduled to take place in D.C.)?
We expect the vast majority of classes will require synchronous participation, meaning students will be expected to participate during the time scheduled for the class. We have modified our schedule so that classes run from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm ET, meaning some upper class and LL.M classes will be available during hours when people are awake in most time zones. Most 1L classes are scheduled to run between 9:30 am and 2:30 pm ET, Monday to Friday.
The asynchronous option that was previously available to LL.M. students enrolled in the Executive Tax and Executive Securities & Financial Regulation programs will remain unchanged.
Will professors take attendance?
Yes. Professors are still expected to announce and keep track of mandatory attendance policies. We have asked professors to be flexible and compassionate, however, with students who must miss classes due to illness or family emergencies.
What is our policy on grading for class participation?
Professors may decide whether to base any part of a class grade on participation. We have asked all professors to ensure that their class participation policies do not disadvantage students based on whether they participate in-person or remotely and to consider the pandemic and its impact on you and your classmates as they develop their class participation criteria.
What is our grading policy for the Fall 2020 semester?
The Dean has asked a faculty committee to recommend a grading policy for the Fall. We will update you when a decision on grading is made.
What are the plans for the Spring 2021 semester?
We have not yet determined the plan for the Spring semester, and it, like the Fall, will depend on the pandemic and District of Columbia approval.
Will there be efforts to connect first-year students who are studying remotely with other students in their area to create study groups and community building?
Yes! You will receive more information before Orientation about joining community circles in your geographical area.
What is the format for the First-Year J.D. Orientation week?
The mandatory Orientation week for first-year J.D. students runs from Monday, August 24 through Friday, August 28, with a few hours of programming each day. Orientation will be offered remotely, through live Zoom programs. Please check the J.D. Orientation website regularly for complete information about J.D. Orientation and periodic updates. Information on LL.M. Orientation is forthcoming.
I anticipate that this fall I might need some accommodations to access my classes fully. What should I do?
If you think you might need an accommodation to access a class, please contact Georgetown Law’s Office of Disability Services.
When will incoming J.D. students learn which section they will be in and who their faculty are?
We are working hard to finalize section assignments, and we hope to share that information a few weeks before classes begin.
What factors would trigger a shift to a fully remote environment?
We know that many of you are making housing and other decisions, and we also know that many of you plan to be in D.C. regardless of the path of the pandemic. The health and safety of our community continue to guide all decision-making. As you are aware, the pandemic has intensified in recent weeks, and any decisions about a return to campus will be subject to the path of the pandemic as well as acceptance by the District of Columbia. Although we have invested considerable resources in planning for an in-person, on-campus experience, and we are committed to making it happen if the pandemic allows it, some of these decisions are beyond our control. As a result, you should make your own housing decisions with the understanding that the pandemic may, at any point, require us to revert to a remote environment.
What will student life on campus look like?
We realize how important community and social bonds are to student well-being. We will continue to update you with more information regarding continuity plans for student activities and services, keeping in mind the needs of our population both in-person and virtual. On-campus events and activities may be modified during the Fall 2020 semester based on District of Columbia and University health and safety guidance.
Will there be places for students to study on campus?
If public health regulations and conditions permit, we plan to offer some student study space on campus this fall. Because we will need to convert most of the usual large study spaces, such as the Williams Reading Room and Hotung 3rd floor, to socially distanced classrooms, we likely will be able to provide only limited, socially distanced study space in seminar and small gathering rooms, on a prior reservation basis. Details will be posted later this summer.
Will student organizations be able to hold events and meetings on campus?
For now, student organizations and journals should plan to hold their events and meetings by Zoom for at least the Fall semester. We are considering whether we can safely open campus spaces for small socially distanced meetings and events on the weekends during the fall, but no decision has been made yet. We also have not yet determined whether student organizations will be able to host events off-campus.
We also are still considering whether student organizations and journals will be able to use their office space on campus. Due to public health conditions, it is likely that they will not have access to these spaces for at least the Fall semester.
We recognize the importance of student organizations being able to meet and hold events throughout the school year, and regret that public health conditions and resulting space constraints will limit the ability of organizations to hold events on campus. The Office of Student Life stands ready to help organizations plan and execute successful programs remotely.
Where will students go between classes?
We will share more detailed information later this summer. To promote public health and safety, it is likely students will be encouraged to go outside between classes. All community members will need to keep their faces covered and to be socially distanced throughout campus, including outside.
Will the elevators be open in campus buildings?
Yes. Social distancing measures will be in place, so elevator capacity will be significantly limited. We are trying to avoid scheduling classes that will require use of the higher floors in the classroom buildings and library.
Will new restroom policies be implemented?
Yes. Detailed information about restroom usage and community expectations for safe use will be shared later this summer.
What campus facilities will be open?
Many buildings will have limited or restricted use during the Fall. All Law Center spaces are being reviewed, and plans for their use will be made based on District of Columbia and University health and safety guidelines.
Will the Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center be open?
No decision has been made yet about when the fitness center will open and any such decision is, like all other aspects of the plan, subject to approval by the District of Columbia. We hope to open the fitness center at some point during the Fall semester, with appropriate public health and safety measures in place. It is likely that we would significantly limit the number of members in the center, institute exercise time slots, keep the locker rooms closed, and limit the spaces and equipment to be used.
Will dining services be offered on campus?
Yes. Dining services will be set up to meet physical distancing guidelines, provide enhanced sanitation standards, and serve a reduced population density. We anticipate that the choices will be more limited than in the past.
When will the Early Learning Center be open?
No decision has been made yet about when the Early Learning Center will open and any such decision is, like all other aspects of the plan, subject to approval by the District of Columbia.
Is the Bookstore open?
Yes, the Bookstore is open, but not to the public. Students can call at 202-662-9676 or email email@example.com with questions Monday-Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM. The Bookstore’s shipper is UPS and most orders over $50.00 ship for free. The Bookstore ships internationally, but it is fairly expensive.
Gewirz Student Center
Will Gewirz Residence Hall be open to students?
Yes. Our current plan, created in consultation with our Public Health Working Group and subject to District of Columbia approval, is to make Gewirz apartments available to students, with reduced occupancy throughout the building.
Will students be sharing rooms in Gewirz?
No unit has shared bedrooms or shares a hallway bathroom, and no more than two students would ever need to share a bathroom within an apartment.
Will guests be allowed to enter Gewirz?
No decision has been made yet about guests and any such decision is, like all other aspects of the plan, subject to approval by the District of Columbia.