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Fall 2020 Semester

The University intends to resume in-person instruction educational experience. Please see the sections below for updates as they become available. Note that this information is subject to change pending the current health situation and University policy.

Please also refer to the University's full Physical Distancing Framework, as well as the Reopening Plan approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, for more details. The University is currently in Stage Red of the Framework.

Calendar
  • August 24: Classes Start
  • Nov. 20: Classes End 
  • Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Remote Study Week
  • Dec. 7-18: Exams Administered Remotely

*No Fall Break

Facilities, Library, & Building Access

Building Access
The building is currently closed except for access by faculty and staff. It will reopen to students at a later date (to be determined by the University). When the building is reopened to students, card access will not be required during scheduled class times. However, it is recommended that faculty, staff, and students keep their UR ID card on hand when coming to campus.

Please note that guests and visitors are not permitted in the building, and will not be permitted in the building throughout the fall semester. 

Hallway traffic patterns and entrances/exits may be modified for the safest traffic flow. Signage will be posted indicating entrances/exits, and a layout of updated travel paths will be available. Please note that elevators are limited to a single person at a time. 

Classroom Space
All in-person classes will be assigned to a classroom that allows for appropriate physical distancing. Some classes will need to be relocated or rescheduled to provide an appropriately sized room. (See Academics section for more information.)

Please note that assigned seating could be required in classrooms. Entry and exit procedures will be mandated (i.e. after class concludes, students closest to the exit door will leave first in an orderly fashion).

Library & Carrels

The law library will be open to students at a date to be determined by the University. Limited seating will be available to match social distancing needs, especially with study tables. For the coming academic year, carrels will not be assigned. 

Student scanning and printing services will continue to be offered, as well as access to all required textbooks through the reserves collection. 

Planned operating hours are Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; and four hours each weekend day.

Lounge & Study Space

Down Under Kitchen

The Down Under kitchen will remain open. Access is limited to one person at a time. Be sure to disinfect surfaces after use – door handles, buttons, countertops, microwaves, etc.– with provided materials. If at all possible, please limit the use of shared equipment. It is important to remember that wearing a face covering is required in these areas, even if only one person is occupying the space.

Please note that the carafe style coffee makers have been replaced with single-serve Keurig machines. You will need to bring your own K-cups. Be sure to disinfect the machine before and after each use.

Vending machines will continue to be available. 

Shared Spaces/Common Areas

To promote physical distancing, furniture layouts in shared spaces and common areas may have changed. Furniture (such as tables and chairs) should not be moved or rearranged. It is important to remember that wearing a face covering is required in these areas, even if only one person is occupying the space.

Faculty/Staff Lounge

The faculty/staff lounge on the second floor will remain open. Access is limited to one person at a time. Be sure to disinfect surfaces after use – door handles, buttons, countertops, microwaves, etc. – with provided materials. If at all possible, please limit the use of shared equipment. Shared/community food is prohibited for the time being (i.e. donuts, cookie tray, etc.). It is important to remember that wearing a face covering is required in these areas, even if only one person is occupying the space.

Student Organization Offices

Student organization offices may be occupied using physical distancing polices, with maximum occupancy as follows. Masks must be worn at all times when in the student organization offices. 

  • Law Review Office: Three People
  • JOLT Office: Three People
  • PILR Office: One Person
  • Moot Court/TAB Office: One Person

Moody Plaza

Additional space will be available on the front plaza outside the Law School. Physically distanced furniture will be arranged under a covered tent. 

 

Parking

Parking

Please continue to park in assigned parking lots. For students with classes in the Jepson Alumni Center, you may park in the first section of Lot W85, directly across from the Center. 

Parking and Transportation is now accepting vehicle registrations for the 2020/2021 school year. The $140 registration fee will be charged to your tuition account. Permits will mailed to the address you list on the vehicle registration form. Request your permit before August 14 to ensure it arrives at your Richmond address before school beings. All vehicles should be registered and display a 2021 permit by August 21, 2020.

Register for your 2020-2021 Parking Pass.

Health & Safety

Please refer to the University's Health & Safety page for full details, as well as important updates, policies, and procedures. Note the following details in particular. 

  • At the current time, face masks are required when inside the building (and outside the building if physical distancing is not possible.
  • All students who will be on campus at any time during Fall 2020 must be tested for COVID. The university is providing free "drive-through" testing for returning students August 19-21 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students may register for an hour-long testing time slot. Students who are unable to attend the university-provided testing, or who would simply prefer to be tested elsewhere, may provide a negative COVID test that was administered no more than 72 hours before they first come to campus. Students must register for the on-campus testing or indicate they will exercise the option for outside testing by submitting form by August 3, 2020.
  • In addition, all students must monitor their temperature and symptoms for at least 14 days prior to arrival on campus. Information about a health monitoring online platform designated by the University to record this information will be made available soon. For your own health and wellbeing and that of other students, faculty and staff, all students are asked to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19 by avoiding large crowds and gatherings, keeping a safe distance (at least 6 feet apart) from people outside your family unit, washing hands often and not knowingly coming into contact with a person who has been diagnosed with the virus for at least 14 days prior to returning to campus.
  • All students will be required to conduct a daily health and temperature screening using an online platform approved by the University. The University will provide more information regarding this online platform shortly. Students will be instructed to contact the Student Health Center if they experience symptoms of COVID-19. 

 

Healthy Web Compact

We are asking every member of the community to sign and abide by the Healthy Web Compact. The Compact provides an overview of the actions all Spiders need to take to ensure the safety of our web. These steps include daily health checks, practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask, and letting University officials know if you are not feeling well. You can sign the Healthy Web Compact electronically by August 18 using this link.

Academics

Please reference this July 21 memo for full details and timeline on the course scheduling process.

Course Schedule

The vast majority of courses are scheduled at the same (or nearly the same) time as they were originally scheduled. That being said, there will be some changes to the schedule. The changes that students will most often encounter are as follows:

  • Format of Instruction: Some courses will be taught in a different format than originally planned. While additional changes may still be forthcoming, we currently anticipate that, of the approximately 80 upper level classes, about nine will be taught fully online and about five will be taught in a “hybrid” format. In a hybrid class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for example, one half of the class would attend in person on Tuesday and remotely on Thursday, while the other half of the class would attend remotely on Tuesday and in person on Thursday. There are some small variations on this hybrid format and students should make sure to contact their individual professors for more details.  
  • Room Capacity & Additional Sections: One consequence of the Physical Distance Framework is that our classrooms hold far fewer students than usual. To address this problem, we have borrowed some classrooms from the University, modified some of our own classrooms, built an extra classroom in the building, and—most relevant to you—added additional sections of some large classes. The addition of extra sections means that some students in larger classes will have to move to a different section, which could impact their overall schedule. Guidance on how this process will operate is in the scheduling memo.
  • Room Assignments: Because of limits on classroom capacities, we have had to move most courses to different rooms. Almost all classes will be held in the law school building. A couple small classes will be held in neighboring buildings (such as the Business School or the International Center) and a several large classes will be held in the Jepson Alumni Center across campus. Students who have class at the Jepson Alumni Center may park in the section of lot W85 located directly across from the building. 

Clinics and Externships

Clinics and externships will operate largely as normal, subject to the Physical Distance Framework. The framework will likely impact each clinic and externship somewhat differently and students should contact their professors for further information on how each clinic or externship will operate. There may be some adjustments in the types of cases you will handle to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19, e.g., handling Zoom-facilitated parole board hearings, when possible, rather than in-person court hearings. 

Students who no longer wish to take a clinic or externship (whether because of a conflict between classes or for any other reason) should also contact their professor as soon as possible. For students enrolled in an externship (formerly called a “clinical placement”), the faculty member now supervising externships is Professor Ali Silva Fannon, whom we are excited to have join the faculty. You can email Prof. Fannon at afannon@richmond.edu

Remote Learning

As the University has already announced, any student can choose to attend classes remotely for the entire semester for any COVID-related reason. Those of you who have already submitted a request by July 20, your request has been approved, and Dean Sklut will be in touch directly. New requests for full or partial remote study may be submitted using this form.

Note that this form is not to be used if the student will be attending remotely because the class is only being offered online or in a hybrid format. Nor is the form to be used if the student is temporarily unable to attend class (e.g., the student has a cold); a different form will be made available for that purpose as we approach the beginning of the semester. 

Attendance

The attendance policy for this semester will be largely unchanged. 

First, as usual, students must still attend 75% of classes to obtain a passing grade in a course. Second, and also similar to prior years, students are expected to attend class in-person unless they have a good reason not to. Acceptable reasons for not attending class in-person include (1) health-related concerns (whether related to COVID-19 or otherwise); (2) religious or family obligations (such as attending to the health or care of a loved one); and (3) any circumstances that make in-person attendance impossible or excessively burdensome (e.g., transportation difficulties). However, unlike prior years, students who have a good reason not to attend in person will be able to attend remotely and remote attendance will count toward the 75% attendance requirement. 

Grading

We will return to standard grading procedures consistent with our academic regulations.

Class Experience

For those attending class in person, the most significant changes to your experience will be that you are sitting further away from other students (at least 6 feet) and wearing a mask. Your professor will be wearing a mask as well, but will be taking care to make sure students to can hear well, and we expect most professors will use a microphone. Students physically present in the classroom will be able to see and interact with students studying remotely though a Zoom feed that is connected to a large TV monitor in each classroom. 

For students attending class remotely, you will have a Zoom feed to a camera focused on the professor. In addition, a separate microphone stationed near the professor will ensure strong sound quality. You will be able to see all other students attending remotely on the same Zoom feed, and you will be expected to participate in class as if you were physically present. To assist students studying remotely, the professor is likely to make less use of the chalkboard and more use of the screen (which can be “shared” through Zoom), but use of the screen may vary according to the size of the class and the specific lesson plan for the day. 

Office Hours with Faculty Members

Office hours may take place in the building if physical distance can be maintained and masks are worn. However, during the Red Phase, virtual meetings are encouraged. 

Student Life

During the Red Stage, meetings, events, and social gatherings of 10 attendees or fewer may take place. Physical distancing is required. 

University-sponsored outdoor events of 50 or fewer attendees (plus necessary staff) are permitted if physical distance can be maintained.

No off-campus events are permitted.

Please note that all event planning for student organizations must be approved by Dean Sklut (asklut@richmond.edu). Most spaces will be reserved for academic purposes, limiting the space available for in-person co-curricular activities and programs.

Dates may be tentatively reserved for Spring 2020 events, but are subject to University policies and procedures, as they become available. Please consult with Dean Sklut (asklut@richmond.edu) before scheduling any Spring 2020 events. 

Please contact Mary Ruth Walters with other questions: mwalters@richmond.edu

Career Development

One team member will be in the Career Development Office to field quick questions daily during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.). All advising appointments will be conducted virtually. To schedule an appointment with your career advisor, contact your advisor directly or call the office at 804-289-8638.

Career programs will be offered virtually and will be supplemented by a library of on-demand programs.

A small, virtual On-Campus Interview program will take place in September. The primary interviewing period for 2Ls will take place in late January/early February 2021.