Dear Georgetown Law Community,
In March, President DeGioia and I sent messages announcing our plans to return to in-person operations this fall. In emails on April 14 and June 17, President DeGioia announced the University’s vaccination policy, which requires that all students, faculty, and staff be fully vaccinated. Last week, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Ranit Mishori also provided information on vaccines for students. I write today to provide additional details about our plans for the fall, and more information is available on the University’s COVID-19 Vaccines and FAQ website.
Instruction. The vast majority of law courses will be carried out in physical classrooms, and faculty and students in those courses will be expected to participate in-person. The only exception is that a small number of courses that begin at 7:30 am ET will have a remote option for both students and faculty, including those international students who face difficulties and need them. All students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus this fall are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless granted a medical or religious exemption.
In light of the latest CDC guidelines, I expect our classrooms to look much more like pre-pandemic times. The Georgetown University Public Health Advisory Group is considering whether masks will still be required for fully vaccinated individuals. I will share any decision on this with you as soon as it is reached. This means that professors will spend the usual amount of time in the classroom, though some may hold office hours online if they feel this will better meet the needs of their students. In order to put a class schedule in place for the fall, we have planned to continue the class time of day schedule from this past spring, with 30-minute breaks between classes. This decision allowed us to move forward with planning and will provide time to air out rooms between classes.
International students. We believe that most visa processing and other barriers to entry for our international students have eased, and we look forward to most students arriving on time for a fall start. As Georgetown University is requiring students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination for the fall semester, students should refer to the information on accepted vaccinations and Frequently Asked Questions to ensure you have met vaccination requirements. If you are unable to get vaccinated in your country or received a vaccine not authorized by the FDA or WHO and need to be re-vaccinated with a FDA-authorized vaccine upon arrival on campus, please email email@example.com for guidance on scheduling an appointment and receiving a deadline extension. You will be able to participate in in-person activities and classes while you are receiving your vaccination, but you will need to wear a mask at all times (indoors and outdoors, except in very limited circumstances such as when eating or in your personal residence or a private office with a closed door) and participate in enhanced testing protocols until you have submitted documentation showing that you are fully vaccinated. Students facing travel or visa difficulties must alert our International Student Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. New international LL.M students who cannot arrive by Tuesday, September 7, 2021, may begin their studies in the Spring 2022 semester.
Other Campus Activities and Services. The campus will be once again open to community members, albeit with some continuing restrictions, as appropriate. Student organizations and other co-curricular activities will be allowed to reserve spaces, as available, for meetings and events. Students will be permitted to sit in common areas and study spaces between classes, and the Law Library will resume its regular building hours. McDonough Hall will have food and beverages available on the first floor at The Local at Georgetown Law (formerly the Market Cafe) and Whisk coffee and bakeshop (formerly the frozen yogurt stand). Food and beverage service will not be available in the Hotung Building (Subway) at the start of the semester.
I know that all of you are looking forward to reengaging in our community. That said, the face-to-face community that was our norm and key to our identity, will, of course, be different. We have all been impacted by what we have experienced and that, in turn, will impact how we carry out our mission.
As noted above, there are still details to work out and we should all expect some bumps in the road as we return. Any plans we make are contingent on the trajectory of the virus and continued progress on the public health front. As always, our top priority is the health and safety of our community. I ask that we exercise kindness and patience toward each other as together we figure it out. And the news overall is very good. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing all of you in the fall and returning to our on-campus community.
William M. Treanor
Dean & Executive Vice President
Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair