Mid-Semester Check-In

Dear Fordham Law Students,
I am reaching out to touch base on how law school life is going for you this semester, to provide an update on our plans for spring semester, and to solicit your feedback through a schoolwide survey.
First, I want to share the observation that we have been very fortunate thus far with the health and safety of our community, as evidenced by the low number of cases at Fordham. I recognize that our good fortune is a direct result of your responsible and careful behavior. Each time I am in the Law School building, I get a clear sense of the seriousness with which each of you takes this pandemic, and I know that you recognize the role you play in keeping the whole community safe. I am proud to see you living up to our motto “in the service of others.”  You have faithfully tested, masked, and distanced—and we are all better for it. Thank you.
New Testing Requirement
I wanted to call your attention to an email the University sent last week regarding new testing requirements and the importance of getting the flu vaccine. All members of the community must have a third COVID-19 test completed by Friday, October 23, and a fourth test by Friday, November 20. Please sign up for on-campus testing at Lincoln Center. As outlined in the email, it is also particularly important to get the flu vaccine this year.
The Schedule for Next Semester
For public health reasons, we are making changes to the spring semester schedule. The key change is that we are eliminating spring break because of the very substantial public health concerns with resuming in-person classes after faculty and students have traveled outside of New York City. As I am sure you are aware, schools across the country are making a similar decision for the same reason.
Other important things to know about our spring calendar:
  • We will keep the same start dates as are currently on the calendar.
    • 1Ls have a one-day orientation on Jan. 19, everyone else starts regular classes that day; 1Ls start classes on Jan. 20.
  • Registration will take place at the beginning of January.
  • We will have an extended reading period at the end of the semester. We know many students spend part of spring break preparing for exams and writing papers. Accordingly, we will have an extended reading period at the end of the semester to allow you time to prepare for exams; papers will be due during the reading period rather than the last day of classes.
  • We will provide three days off during the semester, allowing for shorter breaks:
    • Presidents’ Day on February 15
    • March 10, and
    • Good Friday on April 2
  • For upper-level J.D. students, on-campus interviewing will continue as planned on January 26–29, although this will be all virtual. Upper-level classes will be suspended for those days.
  • The Law School diploma ceremony will take place on May 24.
  • Details on exam schedules will be forthcoming.

Class Format

As you know, another significant decision is the format of classes for the spring semester. We are currently planning to offer at least some in-person courses, as we have this semester, but we cannot make a final decision until we see how the public health situation evolves. We will share the spring course offerings in December, although, as always, our ability to offer in-person classes is subject to regulation by New York City and State as well as University policies.

Your Input

As we plan the spring semester, we want to know about your experiences this semester as well as your anticipated preferences for taking online versus in-person classes this spring. Please note that we are not asking for a firm commitment yet, but it would help our planning to have a sense of your preferences.
Please take this survey by Friday, October 16, to share your input.

Thank you for all your hard work, consideration of our community’s health, and flexibility during this time.
Matthew Diller
Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law

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