Dear Georgetown Law Community,
I am writing to provide additional updates on our current operations and planning for the spring semester.
First, I can now confirm that all students will have the option of taking classes online in the spring semester. Although we hope to be able to hold some classes on-campus, all will use a hybrid model that also allows students to attend and fully participate online. Along the same lines, staff who are currently working remotely should expect to continue to do so in the spring semester, though they should of course check regularly with their supervisor for any changes.
Second, a small administrative matter for students who are about to register for classes: All spring semester exams will be take-home only. Although we continue to hope for the possibility of some hybrid teaching next semester, exams will not take place on campus.
Third, I am very pleased to report that this past weekend we held our first in-person classes at Georgetown since March, with two days of classes and programming for about 20 international students, satisfying federal requirements for certain F-1 visa holders. The class was designed to satisfy federal requirements for F-1 visa holders. As you will see from the photos below, this class took place outdoors. Professors Marty Lederman, Lisa Heinzerling, and Josh Chafetz each delivered two-hour lectures wearing masks, after which Professor Bob Thompson and Chief Operating Officer David Mao gave students walking tours of the area. I am enormously grateful for the work of the many members of our staff that made this such a lovely event -- from Graduate and International Programs, to Facilities and Security, to IST and Special Events. I never expected that part of our 150-year anniversary celebration would be celebrating our first on-campus class in more than six months. But these are unusual times.
The fourth piece of news also concerns access to campus: The Law Center has received approval to host outdoor events with small groups of 1L and 1E students, starting mid-October. We are using our experience from this past weekend to help plan these gatherings. My paramount concern is to hold these events in a safe manner, reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Planning has been done in consultation with the University’s public health group and leadership and the DC health authorities. Only a small number of students, faculty, and staff will be on campus at any given time, all of whom will be required to wear a mask covering their mouth and nose and maintain six feet or more distance between one another.
Faculty who indicated an interest in participating in one or more of these events can expect an email from Associate Dean Greg Klass soon asking about your continued willingness to participate and your availability. Anyone interested in more details about the events can read the email I sent to the first-year students last Saturday, which is at the bottom of this message.
Finally, and still on the subject of access to campus, many of you have asked about the protocols that must be followed by community members who have received approval to be on campus. The details are somewhat complex, but as someone who has gone through the process, I can assure you that it is very manageable. We have described the basic process in a section following this email. For more information, the University has created a detailed FAQ on COVID-19 testing protocols.
While we continue to plan for limited campus access this semester, and the possibility of some hybrid classes next Spring, we are also very aware of the current state of the public health crisis. With cooler weather coming, there are indications that the pandemic might get worse before it gets better. As always, our greatest concern is the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. I know this has been, and continues to be, a time of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty. I remain in awe of the strength and resilience of our community and we will continue to focus on the well-being of all of the members of the community.