Dear Georgetown Law Community,

In these very challenging times, as the spread of the coronavirus increases, the University and Law Center, in consultation with the University’s Public Health Advisory Group and our Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Ranit Mishori, are modifying our operations. President DeGioia sent an email to the community earlier today announcing steps the University is taking in response to the rise of the Omicron variant. I am writing to you separately to provide an update on our operations at the Law Center in January.

Mode of Instruction

Given the high risk of operational disruption from the ongoing public health conditions, and based on advice from the University’s Public Health Team, the Law Center will hold all classes online through Sunday, January 30, 2022. I announced earlier this month that Week One classes (which start the week of January 10th) will be online. We have now decided that the first two weeks of the Spring semester (beginning with January 18th classes) will also be online. Faculty will receive additional information about support for online instruction next week. Students will receive information about how to join online classes and about work in experiential classes prior to the start of the semester.

We currently plan to resume on-campus, in-person classes on Monday, January 31. There are some indications that the current wave is likely to peak in early- to mid-January. This gives me hope for a return to in-person teaching at the end of January.

We did not come to this decision lightly. I know that online learning isolates many of our students, and I very much wanted us all to return to campus at the start of the Spring semester. I am committed to resuming in-person instruction as soon as conditions permit.

Mode of Work

On December 24, we encouraged staff to work remotely where possible through the beginning of the semester. I am now extending this through Sunday, January 30. Department heads should communicate with their staff and develop plans to have their employees work remotely to the extent possible during this period. Exceptions to this include: 1) those employees with essential duties; 2) those employees who need to be on campus to fulfill their responsibilities; and 3) in-person, on-campus staffing necessary to support the Law Center’s academic mission or administrative operations, as determined by associate deans or department heads. All staff should be prepared to resume their current academic year, on-campus schedule beginning Monday, January 31, and should keep watch for any updates and guidance as the date approaches.

Faculty are encouraged to work and teach from home if possible. George Petasis will email faculty next week with information on teaching remotely.

Library

The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library will be open only to Georgetown community members. Students will need to be masked and keep at least six feet apart while studying in libraries or study spaces on campus.

Fitness Center

The Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center will remain closed until further notice.

Events and Campus Visitors

Except as approved by the Dean’s Office, all Law Center events and meetings with outside visitors must be held virtually or outdoors through Sunday, January 30. Dean Erica Hashimoto will be in touch with clinical and experiential faculty on procedures for those classes and for clinical clients.

Gewirz Residence

Gewirz will remain open. Visitors to students’ suites must comply with the current visitor policy.

Dining and Food and Beverage Consumption

On-campus dining facilities will continue to be grab-and-go. Gewirz students should eat their meals in their private residence. Food and beverage consumption in communal spaces, including libraries and study areas, is not allowed at this time.

Masking

Masks must be worn in indoor public spaces on campus, and high-grade, well-fitted masks (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94) are strongly encouraged for faculty, staff, and students.

Boosters

Earlier this month, the University announced a booster requirement. All community members must provide documentation of their boosters by Friday, January 21. Individuals who are not eligible to get a booster shot by then will receive a deadline extension until they are eligible. There will be booster clinics at the Law Center in January. Dates will be announced soon. I encourage everyone to get a booster shot as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.

Arrival Testing

Students, faculty, and staff returning to campus after the winter break will need to get tested prior to their arrival on campus, regardless of their vaccination status or whether they have traveled or remained in the local area. Please see the COVID-19 Testing section of the Public Health and University Operations webpage for more information on testing requirements prior to returning for the Spring 2022 semester.

It was wonderful to see students back on campus this Fall, and I am disappointed that classes will begin online in the Spring semester. But I am hopeful that these measures will be only temporary and that we will be able to return to campus soon. Throughout the pandemic, our faculty and staff have put enormous effort into providing our students an excellent education. Know that as we navigate this new coronavirus wave, we remain dedicated to that mission. We will continue to provide the superb offerings that are the hallmark of a Georgetown legal education, and I look forward to our return to campus as soon as possible.

Best,

William M. Treanor
Dean & Executive Vice President
Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair