Category: Messages to the Community

Title: September 21 Update on Fall 2020 Plans for Georgetown Law

Dear Georgetown Law Community,

I am writing to provide an update on the Law Center’s current plans and expectations regarding return to campus. When we announced at the end of July that all Fall semester university classes would begin online, I and the other Executive Vice Presidents said that we would be continually examining, in light of public health conditions, what academic activities (if any) could be held in person on campus this Fall.

After extensive planning by faculty and staff, we are now in our fourth week of remote classes. At this point, the Law Center has authorized limited presence on campus: essential staff, approximately 90 students who are residing in the dorm, and a small number of faculty who need to teach from campus.

Based on the trajectory of the virus and testing capacity, as well as DC regulations, Law Center administration is no longer contemplating having a significant program of hybrid learning this semester, one which would see a large percentage of our classes meeting on-campus for face-to-face class sessions. If the conditions improve, we hope to be able to invite a very small number of classes for face-to-face sessions later in the semester, but this will not be a program of significant size.

At the same time, senior administrators at the Law Center have developed a plan for the semester that would, if conditions permit, allow students and faculty the opportunity to meet with each other on campus in non-class settings – in physically distant ways, outside of the buildings (including in the tents that we have set up on campus), and following protocols consistent with public health safety guidelines. Moving ahead with any of the elements of this plan would require meeting a number of preconditions: continued limitation of the spread of the pandemic in the District of Columbia, a significant increase in our capacity for testing and contact tracing, and accelerated turn around time in results. In consultation with the Georgetown public health working group, the University is working hard on these issues and, in particular, on increasing our capacity for testing and contact tracing, as well as accelerating testing turn-around time.

My hope is that we will be able bring more students and faculty to campus in stages during the course of the semester. I will continue to keep you updated regularly during the semester. And, as always, I am deeply grateful to all of you for the resilience and grace you have shown as we navigate these challenging times.