Moving Forward: Important Fall 2020 Updates
July 30, 2020
We are writing to follow the message you received from American University about the fall semester and to explain how that decision will apply to WCL. As you know, President Burwell announced earlier today that all AU instruction will be remote this fall. AU reached this difficult decision for several reasons, including the recent increases in COVID-19 cases in the region and nationally, the DC government’s related decision to require anyone arriving from a list of 27 COVID hotspots to self-isolate for two weeks, and the ongoing challenge of obtaining timely virus test results. We are very disappointed about this news, and we are sure that you are as well.
In light of the President’s message, we write to announce that all law school courses will be delivered remotely for the fall semester, our community’s access to campus will be scheduled and very limited, and plans for in-person instruction for select 1L courses are therefore suspended. Provided conditions do not worsen further we intend to make a few narrow exceptions to our remote-teaching plan, aimed at supporting our wonderfully diverse and inclusive community as best we can in these difficult times:
- We will open a limited number of study spaces in the law library and other designated areas for those students who face extraordinary circumstances. We are developing an application process for these spaces and will be in touch soon with more information.
- We recognize that the shifting guidance from ICE may have left international students with questions about their fall course load. Students with questions can review FAQs from the International Student and Scholar Services or contact the Office of International and Comparative Legal Studies.
- In our earlier communications about on-campus classes, we noted that some experiential classes would have some in-person components (e.g., clinic meetings). Individual faculty members will be in touch with their students directly about the extent to which such meetings will go forward.
- We are exploring the possibility of hosting some 2020 graduates for two days in October when they sit for a remote bar exam.
Faculty continue to prepare to take full advantage of the online environment, and they look forward to supplementing larger courses with smaller and more personal online sessions. 1L faculty, in particular, are thinking deeply about how best to welcome you to the school community, and to assist you in getting to know each other. Program staff continue to plan engaging virtual panels, meets, and other events, as listed on our event calendar. Law library staff remain committed to supporting your academic success, both through remote reference assistance and through contactless delivery of books from the general collection.
We want to confirm that the announced tuition reduction of ten percent (10%) will extend to law students, and that the University intends to waive the Sports Center Fee for the fall semester and will provide an application for a UPASS waiver. These adjustments are in addition to the previously announced reduction to WCL’s Student Activities Fee. We hope that these changes provide some assistance to those for whom the COVID-19 crisis poses not only health but financial challenges. The WCL Financial Aid Office will update each student’s cost of attendance for the fall semester and will send out updated financial aid award notices as necessary.
We are sure that many of you have questions about what these latest developments will mean for you. We invite your questions in response to this message, and we will do our level best to answer all inquiries and/or ensure that the FAQs on our website are updated in response. Your professors will also be reaching out soon to share their syllabi and any additional information about what you can expect in their courses and clinics.
We deeply regret that these further developments in the COVID-19 pandemic prevent us from using the WCL campus even in the limited, innovative way we had planned—we are as disappointed as you are. We will continue to monitor local, regional, and national conditions and we hope that we will be able to open our campus more broadly in the Spring. Through all of this, we remain committed to providing the highest quality legal education and to building a welcoming and vibrant community. We look forward to being back on campus together as soon as we safely can.
Our warmest wishes for your safety, health, and well-being,
Acting Dean Robert Dinerstein
Vice Dean Susan Carle
Senior Associate Dean Amanda Leiter
Associate Dean Robert Campe
Associate Dean David Jaffe
Senior Assistant Dean Ann Chernicoff