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November 2, 2020

Dear Georgetown Law Community,

In last week’s community update, I shared the Law Center's limited pilot for in-person classes. This week, I wanted to share our plan for a second pilot, which will provide students a small number of individual study spaces in the Williams Law Library for the remainder of the semester, running through final exams. Students can expect to receive an email from Dean Ohm shortly with details about how to register for the pilot.

Through both surveys and anecdotal feedback, our students stressed the importance of on-campus spaces for individual study and the various challenges they are experiencing, including mental health and other issues related to the isolation imposed by the pandemic. Beginning Monday, November 9, we are going to experiment with opening up the library to a limited number of students to use as a study space. The goal, as with our other pilots, is to gain experience this semester in the hopes that we will be able to establish more regular, if still limited, access to campus in the spring.

As with every pilot we have administered, the pilot will comply with all recommendations of the University’s Public Health Working Group. For example, all students participating in the program will be tested before, during, and after access to campus; participants will reserve specific, socially distanced study locations; supplies will be provided to clean the space before and after use; and mask wearing will be required at all times. No other library services will be available (e.g., browsing shelves or checking out items).

I wish we were in a position to offer library access to all students. Unfortunately, the protocol for the pilot requires restricting the number of students who can participate. If more students express interest than the number of places, we will use a lottery system. I hope the results of this small-scale experiment will put us on the way to greater access next semester -- as always, conditions permitting.

My thanks to the senior administrators and staff who have worked so hard to put this program together and who are planning for the spring. I will be sharing additional news about those plans in the weeks ahead.