Dear Georgetown Law Community,
I am writing to share information about three aspects of our planning and operations.
First, I want to update you on our plans for the fall. Just a month ago, we were still unsure what the fall 2021 semester would look like. Today, given the rate of vaccination we are seeing in the U.S., I expect that almost all students, staff, and faculty will be returning to campus in the fall. (Of course, we will be working closely with our international students who may still be unable to obtain a visa or may be facing ongoing travel bans due to the pandemic.) My hope is that campus life will approach something like pre-pandemic times, though no doubt there will be differences. In determining whether we will all be wearing masks, whether we need to reduce density in classrooms, or whether we will need to take other measures, we will be following the advice of the CDC, our own Georgetown experts, and of course following D.C. regulations. That said, knowing what we know now makes me optimistic about the fall.
As we know, nothing is certain in this pandemic. We are therefore keeping the expanded daily class schedule, which allows for 30 minutes between classes and makes social distancing easier.
Second, I know many graduating students are anxious to know about the events surrounding graduation. Just last week, D.C.’s Mayor issued a new order with rules for graduation events. We are adjusting our planning based on this new information. Because we have many graduating students around the country and the world who will be unable to travel to D.C. in May, we are still planning for a virtual component to Commencement. I consider it important to have a graduation that allows all graduating students to participate. We are still working to determine whether an additional in-person graduation-type event, perhaps held with other schools at the University and at a larger venue, will be possible.
We are delighted, however, that the Mayor’s order gives us the opportunity to bring larger groups of graduating law students to the law campus during the week of graduation to celebrate their accomplishments. The order is new, and so plans are not yet finalized. We very much hope that we will be able to allow a limited number of family members or other guests to attend too, and will announce a decision on that as soon as we have it.
Our graduation team has been putting in hundreds of hours planning a special event, in circumstances that are changing week to week, and sometimes day to day. I am enormously grateful for their hard work.
Third, a few words about what is happening on campus now. I am pleased to report we recently added opportunities for students and faculty to gather on campus in small groups.
On March 22, we launched a three-week program permitting our student organizations, student mentor programs and faculty to host outdoor gatherings of up to 18 participants. These were a great success, and I am especially grateful to our SBA leadership for hosting gatherings for the first year sections. We will continue to ensure that all gatherings follow the current University and D.C. public health guidelines, with all participants required to have a “Green Badge” status in the COVID-19 protocol, wear a mask while on campus and remain at least six feet apart.
I am happy to share that ODOS and Special Events is planning more than a dozen additional events for graduating J.D. and LL.M. students to gather informally on campus over the next three weeks. Graduating students should have received an email from Dean Bailin two weeks ago ago with details on how to sign up. I look forward to seeing many of you on campus for these gatherings!
As the weather improves, we also are hearing that community members may wish to sit and chat around campus as they come and go from classes and events. For informal gatherings of up to four individuals, students, and faculty in compliance with the COVID-19 testing protocol may sit on the stone benches in front of the Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center or the wooden chairs and benches along the McDonough Hall terraces. Reservations are not required to use this seating, but again, safety comes first. Anyone who uses the seating must be in compliance with the COVID-19 testing protocol (with a Green Badge), leave the chairs and benches in their designated spots, wear a mask, and remain six feet apart.
Lastly, I am attaching a few photos of the campus, taken last week. I very much look forward to seeing as many graduating students as possible there in May, and returning students there in the fall.
William M. Treanor
Dean & Executive Vice President
Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair