Fall 2020 Campus Reopening Update

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A Message from Dean Diller to Students:

July 7, 2020

Dear Students,

I know you have been eager to learn our plans for the fall. Our current intention is to open our beautiful building for the fall semester, with classes beginning as scheduled, on August 26. As you know, the public health situation is evolving, and thus our plans are subject to change as needed.

This fall will be unlike any other. Your health and safety are our first priority, and each member of our community will play a role in keeping us all as safe as possible. Building on the University’s plan, we will have multiple strategies to protect everyone’s health. For classes, we will offer both online and in-person instruction while minimizing the number of people in the building at any one time. And we will accommodate those who choose to learn remotely.

This letter will give you a sense of what to expect, and we will continue to be in touch over the summer with many more details.

Academic Plan
To advance our academic mission and the student learning experience, we will:
  • Provide our typical robust course offerings, grade on our traditional curve, and ensure clinics can use the building for legal practice.
  • Offer a good selection of upper level courses taught in the building. The schedule will be available shortly and registration will begin July 20.
  • Redouble faculty efforts with virtual learning through a series of summer training sessions that will enhance students’ online learning.
  • Support co-curricular activities so these remain a vibrant part of the academic program.
  • Ensure that the law library delivers engaging remote research assistance and other services and remains open as a controlled, physically distanced study space.
  • Reserve additional study space in the building.
  • Enable students to build an all-online schedule, including all required courses and a robust selection of electives.
Student Services
You will have access to the full range of student services, including the Career Planning Center, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Financial Aid Office, with most of the services offered remotely.

Safety Plan
In light of significant health concerns, there will be many changes to the way we engage with each other in the fall. The cornerstone of our approach is an understanding that we all need to change our behavior to protect the health of everyone in our community. We will use a variety of tools to mitigate risk, including a daily screening protocol, required face coverings for everyone in the building, physical distance in all our spaces, and testing and contact tracing. We are scheduling classes to separate the times when 1Ls and upper-level students have class and limit the total number of people in the building. To further prevent the virus’ spread, the in-person component of the fall semester will end at Thanksgiving break, with the remaining classes and exams held online.

Mandatory Quarantine
As you may have seen, Governor Cuomo is requiring a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving in New York from certain states. If you are affected by this order, please plan ahead and come to New York at least two weeks in advance of your first trip to the building.

Future Communications
You will be hearing from us a lot in the coming weeks. We will need additional information from you, and we will be sending you lots of details about classes and our safety measures. Please check your inbox regularly.

Finally, I want to take a moment to reflect and say that I am so very grateful for the hard work, resilience, and flexibility I have personally witnessed each and every day from our students, faculty, and staff. Although it has been challenging, it has also been a time filled with tremendous opportunities, and I am so energized to see us seizing and capitalizing on those opportunities to move our school – and ultimately our profession – forward.

Warmly,

Matthew Diller
Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law

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