Georgetown Law Fall 2020 FAQ
Updated November 24, 2020
HEALTH AND SAFETY
What measures will the Law Center take with respect to public health and safety?
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. We encourage you to watch this video on how to get tested at the law school. The University has also created a detailed FAQ with more information on COVID-19 testing protocols.
Will I have access to a Student Health Center?
During the Fall 2020 semester, the University’s main campus Student Health Center will remain open: M, W, Th, F 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Tu 9:30 am – 4:30 pm and Sat 9 am -12 pm. To schedule an appointment, please call the Student Health Center at 202-687-2200. The staff will assist you in scheduling the most appropriate appointment (in-person or virtual) based on your concern.
Registered patients can also request appointments online through the patient portal. In-person visits will only be scheduled as needed after an initial screening, and there will be absolutely no walk-ins.
What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
Please call the Student Health Center, 202-687-2200. The Student Health Center has a separate clinic for students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If you call the Student Health Center during business hours, they can help you determine the best type (in person or virtual) of appointment for you.
If you are in need of in-person immediate care, the Medstar Capitol Hill Urgent Care clinic is located near the Law Center campus. You can find more information and check-in online on this page.
What mental health and addiction resources will be available?
The Law Center CAPS (Counseling and Psychiatric Service) office is currently providing telehealth appointments only. These services are for students located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as some other states where our clinicians’ licenses are valid. If you wish to make an appointment, please use the appointment request form. CAPS will also be offering group therapy for students in states where legally permitted to do so, as well as educational workshops for students regardless of where they are physically located. CAPS groups and workshops will be available to all Law Center students, subject to applicable licensure laws. If there is an emergency after hours or on weekends, please call (833) 960-3006.
Students who are insured under the Student Health Insurance Premier Plan have access to a nationwide teletherapy network in addition to CAPS. If insured under the Georgetown University Student Health Insurance’s Premier Plan for the 2019-20 Plan Year, students should have received an email about the transition from the former network, Betterhelp, to the new network, HealthiestYou.
Georgetown Law’s Graduate Students in Recovery Group has continued its weekly, free (and anonymous) recovery meeting for Georgetown Law students (and other D.C.-area law/graduate students) who are seeking to begin or maintain recovery from alcohol and/or drug use. This meeting is student led, for students only. The Group currently meets online every Sunday at 5:30 p.m. For those interested in joining, please email Annemarie Bresson, Assistant Director of Disability Services and Wellness, firstname.lastname@example.org, for Zoom information.
FALL VIRTUAL START
How will the Law Center start the fall semester?
We are implementing a remote start to classes for at least the first four weeks of the semester. We will be virtual at least through the week of September 21-26. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope 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?
Yes, but only if they will be on campus. The timeline may shift, but testing protocols will remain the same for anyone 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 D.C.?
Students who wish to participate remotely do not need to be in D.C. 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.
For students already in D.C., are they allowed to come to campus if COVID-19 testing requirements are met?
No. At this point in time, we are only offering limited programming 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 this decision impact tuition?
Georgetown Law bases its tuition on many factors. In addition to the quality and expertise of our faculty and staff, for example, we focus on the quality and breadth of our student body as well as on creating access to law school for students who would not otherwise have the ability to attend. Georgetown also has a rich array of opportunities, from our clinics to our Centers and Institutes.
These programs make our institution strong and create advantages for our students, and all of these programs are supported by tuition dollars. Nevertheless, in recognition of the impacts of the pandemic, 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.
What plans should international students make for the Fall semester?
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 D.C. from an international location, the DC Department of Health has advised that you should self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival.
What is our grading policy for the Fall 2020 semester?
For the Fall 2020 term, courses at the Law Center will be graded on the normal letter-grade basis according to the rules provided in the Student Handbook, with several important modifications to assist students who may find themselves in distress due to the pandemic. These policies are explained in the Fall 2020 Grading Policy, which we urge you to read carefully.
Most importantly, any students in significant distress who cannot complete work required in a class may apply to the Dean of Students to withdraw from one class without receiving an indication on the transcript.
Students in Clinics who encounter significant hardship but have completed the work required by the clinic may apply to receive a grade of “P” or “CR” rather than a letter grade.
Finally, we have modified the targeted pass/fail option policy for upperclass JD students as described in the next FAQ.
What changes have been made to the targeted pass/fail option policy for upperclass JD students?
This semester, we have made several modifications to our pass/fail option policy. This fall, all Upperclass JD students may select one additional course for a targeted pass/fail option, which will not count against the seven-credit cap, in addition to the pass/fail option provided in the Student Handbook.
If a student selects two classes for the pass/fail option, the class with fewer credit hours will be counted against the seven-credit cap. There is no maximum limit to the number of credits an individual course may have to be eligible for the pass/fail option that does not count toward the seven-credit cap.
In addition, upperclass JD students will be able to make their targeted pass/fail option elections until the last day of classes (or until the day before all work for a class is due, if earlier); C- and D grades will count as passes; and the upperclass JD pass/fail option will be available in a wider range of courses than usual, although there are still several significant restrictions. Once again, consult the explanation in the Fall 2020 Grading Policy.
I am on the waitlist for a class. Can I access the Canvas page? If not, how can I get the link to access the live class?
Students on the waitlist cannot access the Canvas page for a class. Waitlisted students can join a live class at the scheduled time by selecting the classroom associated with the class from this list and filling out the short form that will appear just before the start of the class. Completing the form will start the Zoom meeting, so do not submit the form when your class is not in session. (You can find the assigned classroom by searching for your course on the Curriculum Guide and looking under “Meeting Info.”)
Once you are given a seat off of the waitlist and officially enrolled in the class, you will be given access to the course’s Canvas page automatically, usually within 24 hours.
Where do I find reading assignments for my first classes?
Many professors post first reading assignments here. Some post reading assignments on their course Canvas pages in addition or instead.
Where do I find the casebook/textbook assigned for my class?
Check the Canvas page for your course. This information may also be posted in the Curriculum Guide. Search for a course and look for this button:
Clicking on “Buy Books” will send you to our Georgetown Law Bookstore website where you can view the book(s) your professor has selected. You can buy the books directly from that site, or you can use the ISBN listed to find the exact same edition at any online bookseller or ebook vendor (most casebook publishers release ebook versions these days).
You can also search the Georgetown Law Bookstore for your course materials by Course Number.
Can I purchase my books online and pick them up in person?
No, the Georgetown Law Bookstore will not be open for in-person pick up. All books must be shipped. For students living in Gewirz, please contact the Bookstore directly by calling 202-662-9676 or emailing email@example.com.
Have there been adjustments to the fall calendar?
Yes, as follows:
- Labor Day, Monday, September 7, remains a holiday, and classes will not meet. (Georgetown’s main campus has announced that classes will meet on this date, but for Law Center students it will remain as a holiday).
- Monday, October 12, our classes will meet remotely. The Law Center will not observe the usual “mid-semester break.” All classes will meet on their ordinary dates that week.
- Starting Sunday, November 22, all activity (classes, exams, etc.) will take place online only. The schedule for Thanksgiving week remains unchanged, with classes meeting remotely on Monday, November 23, and Tuesday, November 24, and no classes meeting from Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.
- During the final week of classes, many classes will meet on different days of the week. (This is a side-effect of our decision to hold classes on October 12th.)
- Thursday classes will meet on Tuesday, December 1st.
- Friday classes will meet on Thursday, December 3rd.
- Saturday classes will meet on Friday, December 4th.
- Monday and Wednesday classes will meet as usual.
- Final exams will begin on Monday, December 7 and end on Thursday, December 17. All exams will be take-home and remote. (The start is one day earlier than originally announced. The number of reading days before exams remains unchanged.)
We have incorporated these changes into our official academic calendars.
How will exams be administered?
All exams will be remote and take-home.
- First-year day section exams will be taken on assigned days, and students will choose the start time within a specified window. First-year evening section exams will be self-scheduled within the entire exam period, and students will choose the start time of their exams.
- Upper-level and LL.M. classes will be self-scheduled within the entire exam period or a narrower window of time, if the professor opts for such a window (any such shorter period will incorporate at least one weekend).
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.
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.
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. Consult the syllabus for your class to see if your professor has adopted any specific policies about asynchronous learning.
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.”
Are recordings available for every class?
No. Although the vast majority of professors have given access to unrestricted recordings of class sessions (available via the Panopto link in Canvas), some have not for various confidentiality or pedagogical reasons.
Will professors take attendance?
Yes. The Law Center has a mandatory attendance policy, and professors are still expected to announce and keep track of student attendance. 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. Participation grading is seen as particularly important in experiential classes. We have asked professors to consider the difficulty some students have participating remotely into their grading policies.
My wifi is often slow or unstable. What should I do?
Please try IST’s recommended steps for improving your wifi connection and speed.
What are the plans for the Spring 2021 semester?
A message went out to the community from Dean Treanor on November 16 detailing the Spring plan. Read the full announcement.
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! In addition to connecting first-years to Peer Advisors and over 85 student organizations, the Office of Student Life (part of the Office of the Dean of Students), in collaboration with other offices, is organizing Community Circles for first-year students that will focus on a number of different themes.
There will be Community Circles for different geographic areas. All first-years will receive an email during Orientation Week inviting them to choose Community Circles. If you missed the email or have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 physically-distanced classrooms, we likely will be able to provide only limited, physically-distanced study space in seminar and small gathering rooms, on a prior reservation basis. Details will be posted later this fall.
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 physically-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.
Will the Edward Bennett Williams Library be open?
The Library is currently closed. Please review the library’s Fall 2020 Student Resources for information on the range of services that are available, and check its COVID-19 FAQs for updates on the impact of COVID-19 on its services. The library will not be able to provide access to casebooks this semester through course reserves or printing services.
Will the Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center be open?
The Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center is currently closed, but will offer a full schedule of online classes for the fall. 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?
If we are able to move to a hybrid format, we hope to be able to create dining services that 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?
The Bookstore is operating, but is not open for in-person visits. Students can call at 202-662-9676 or email email@example.com with questions Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 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
Is Gewirz Student Center open?
Yes. Gewirz Student Center is open as scheduled for those students who reserved a room.
Will Gewirz residents be required to quarantine in the dorm?
On Monday, July 24, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an order requiring people traveling into Washington, D.C. 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 D.C.’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 D.C. If you are residing in Gewirz and traveling to D.C. from a high-risk state, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. Please refer to the D.C. quarantine rules here.
If you are traveling to D.C. from an international location, the DC Department of Health has advised that you should self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. Consequently, if you are residing in Gewirz and traveling to D.C. from an international location, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. The D.C. quarantine protocols will apply.
Will guests be allowed to enter Gewirz?
No guests will be allowed initially in the Gewirz Student Center. This policy will be reviewed regularly and may change if circumstances allow.