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October 14, 2020

Dear Georgetown Law Community,

I hope this email finds you well at this very difficult time. I am writing this week’s update to let you know of a few changes to the academic calendar for the spring semester and also to report briefly on the first event we held on campus for 1Ls, an exciting development I will write more about next week.

We will not hold an in-person faculty retreat this year, so we will return those two days in February to instruction. Adding those two days allows us to delay the start of the semester (without changing Week One) by a week, to January 25, which means we will no longer hold the first week of classes on a week already fragmented by Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Inauguration. This has the nice side effect of not holding classes during most of OCI and the Public Sector Recruiting Program, meaning students participating in those events will not need to miss classes during the add drop period. 

At the same time, we heard from students that the mid-semester breaks were important opportunities for them to catch up and take a breather. Members of our spring planning group met with a focus group of students selected by SBA representatives to discuss the spring calendar and these competing concerns. Based on their feedback and our institutional needs, we have modified the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar as follows:

  • Classes will start on Monday, January 25 (formerly Friday, January 15) and end on Tuesday, May 4 (formerly Saturday, May 1).
  • Classes will now meet on the two faculty retreat days, Tuesday, February 16, and Wednesday, February 17. President's Day, February 15, will still be a holiday.
  • The Exam period:
    • Exams will begin on Thursday, May 6 (formerly May 4)
    • Exams will end on Tuesday, May 18 (formerly May 14)
    • Deferred exams will end on Friday, May 21 (formerly May 20)

This new schedule leaves a full week between Week One and the beginning of the spring semester with no classes. That week will include MLK Day and Inauguration Day, as well as the first two days of OCI and the first day of the Public Interest Fair. The schedule does not take any days from spring break, although everyone should be aware that a worsening of the pandemic could require revisiting that decision. Finally, although the new schedule delays the end of exams by a day, it will not delay when grades are due. Faculty should understand the importance of the spring deadline for bar registration and clerkships.

Our website now reflects the updated Spring 2021 Academic Calendar and it is also pasted at the bottom of this email. We have also created a month-by-month Spring 2021 Academic Calendar.

I want to express my gratitude to the faculty, staff, and students who thoughtfully considered the many factors affecting the spring calendar and provided meaningful feedback and recommendations. We will continue to keep you updated on any decisions made about spring semester.

Finally, yesterday we held the first of several on-campus community events for first-year students. I am grateful for the work everyone did to make the first gathering such a success, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity for me to finally meet some of you in person after so many months on Zoom! We are looking forward to meeting even more of our new students in person in the upcoming weeks. We will share pictures of the events next week. It was a wonderful occasion.

Take care and stay well,

Updated Spring 2021 Academic Calendar