Coronavirus Update


A Message from Dean Diller, Associate Dean Sugin, and Professor Huntington to Students:

May 13, 2020

Dear Students,

Congratulations on finishing an unusually challenging semester! We know it has been hard for many of you as you have dealt with the sudden shift to online classes, the lockdown, and illness. It has been wonderful to see how you have rallied to support one another and how our community has worked together.

We hope that you can unwind a bit when exams are done. As your attention turns to the fall, we know you have many questions and concerns. Thank you for sharing your insights into your classroom experiences. Your reflections have already made a big difference in our deliberations for the upcoming academic year.

Our Commitment to You

We are committed to providing all of you with the top-notch education that brought you to Fordham Law School. Over the summer, faculty will be working hard to reimagine their approach to remote courses to ensure they are truly engaging and interactive. Beyond classes, we are committed to ensuring that student life will be robust, building community at our law school through student organizations, informal interaction, and connections between students and faculty.

We will be in close touch with you throughout the summer. We understand that you are eager to know whether and how we will reopen in person in the fall. Although we do not have a firm decision date, we anticipate a determination by early or mid-July. If health authorities permit us to reopen our building, social distancing requirements will be in place for all of our safety, which would limit the capacity of our classrooms and common spaces. We are therefore planning for possibilities that include both in-person instruction on campus and online learning, and likely some combination of both.

Despite the public health uncertainty, we want to share a number of expectations for the fall:

  • We will abide by all public health recommendations. Your health is our primary concern.
  • Fall classes will begin at the usual time.
  • We will open the building if possible. If it is open, we will manage the flow of people to adhere to public health rules and concerns. Consequently, some classes will take place online and many “in person” classes may have online components.
  • If it is not possible to open the building, the semester will begin online. We will remain nimble, so that we can quickly shift class format, if necessary.
  • J.D. students will be able to build all-online class schedules. Not every course will be available in an all-online format, but there will be a range of choices.
  • Registration will take place in July. Courses will be designated as “online” or “in-person.” Classes designated as “in-person” may have online components.
  • Co-curricular activities, such as journals and competition teams, and extra-curricular activities will continue in the fall, but the building will be used primarily for classes.
  • Faculty are immersing themselves in best practices so that they are ready to make use of the many tools available for effective online teaching. The school will take steps to ensure opportunities for students to interact with faculty outside of formal classes.
  • Our society’s needs will be great, and Fordham Law will continue to nurture public service through PIRC, centers and institutes, and clinics. We may have to adapt the ways in which these activities operate, but the work will continue.
  • We will maximize study space in the building consistent with social distancing requirements.
Your Feedback
As we have mentioned, a working group of faculty, administrators, and students is collaborating to plan for the many issues raised by the pandemic’s disruption. Please feel free to contact the working group with any thoughts you have here. Our planning process is underway and we welcome your input and ideas. We want to assure you that we are focused on maintaining a high quality, engaging educational experience, regardless of any restrictions we might face.
Thank you for your hard work, positive spirit, and resilience in the face of a very challenging set of circumstances this semester. We hope you are able to take a well-deserved break and that you stay healthy and safe as you care for yourself and your loved ones.Warm regards,

Matthew Diller
Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law

Linda Sugin
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law

Clare Huntington
Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law and Chair of the Law School Academic Working Group




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