Fall 2020 Semester

The University intends to resume in-person instruction and the residential 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.

  • Fall and Spring Calendars
    Fall Semester
    • August 24: Classes Start
    • Nov. 20: Classes End
    • Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Study Week
    • Dec. 7-18: Exams Administered Remotely

    *No Fall Break

    Spring Semester

    • Jan. 19: Classes Start
    • April 19: Classes End
    • April 20-23: Study Week
    • April 26-May 7: Exam Period
    • May 8: Commencement

    *No Spring Break

  • Health, Safety, & Testing

    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 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. All students undergoing COVID-19 testing must sign a Screening and Testing Authorization for Release of Testing and Screening Results at least three days prior to their scheduled testing date. The Screening and Testing Authorization for Release of Testing and Screening Results available in the Student Health Portal and may be signed electronically.
      • The format of the testing has changed to walk-up. When you come to campus for testing, please use the Boatwright Drive entrance, as it will help with traffic flow through the testing site. Please do not use the River Road entrance if possible. You should park in lot C70 by Robins Stadium to be screened and tested for COVID-19. Then follow signage to enter the lower entrance to the stadium (Gate C) for testing. Only students will be allowed into the stadium. All others will need to remain with their vehicle. Please note that your appointment time remains unchanged. More information about the testing can be found here. Please ignore information about registration for testing – that applies to undergraduates only and not law students – all other information applies!.
    • 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, and submitting results to the Student Health Portal using the "Document Upload" feature. Do not come to campus until you have uploaded negative results.
    • 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.
    • A student may be exempted from initial COVID-19 testing under the following circumstances:
      • The student will be studying remotely during the fall semester and will not be on campus for other purposes (e.g., use of the library or other facilities);
      • The student has a negative viral PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to the first day they arrive on-campus and provides a copy of the lab report;
      • The student had a positive viral PCR test for COVID-19 not more than 90 days prior to arrival on campus, has completed their isolation, and provides a copy of the lab report. Students who have a positive test within 10 days of arrival on campus should not come to campus until: (1) they have no fever, defined as less than 100 degrees F, for at least 3 days (that is 72 hours of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, such as Tylenol, Motrin, aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, etc.); (2) other respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath); and (3) at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared or they have and provide documentation of two negative COVID-19 PCR viral tests done at least 24 hours apart.
    • All students must monitor their temperature and symptoms. You should receive an email from Qualtrics, the online survey system housing the daily symptom tracking form, every morning. Begin completing this survey on a daily basis starting 14 days prior to your arrival on campus. You are required to complete this daily survey both prior to your arrival on campus for the fall semester and during the fall semester. Students will be instructed to contact the Student Health Center if they experience symptoms of COVID-19. 
    • Please review the University’s full testing protocol - including information about Prevalence Testing - here.
    • 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. 

    Positive COVID Test Notification Policies

    If a law student who has been on-campus tests positive for COVID-19, close contacts of that student will be contacted by a contact tracer. Typically, merely sharing the same classroom while socially distanced and wearing a mask with an infected person does not constitute close contact. Our understanding of the current university policy is that we are not allowed to share any medical information without permission. That being said, we plan to ask any student who is infected for permission to share information with their classmates.

  • Contact Tracing & COVIDWISE

    Consistent with the Virginia Department of Health’s guidance, the University is partnering with the VDH and the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts to support contact tracing among students, faculty, and staff. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to download Virginia’s COVIDWISE app. Learn more here.

    To facilitate contact tracing, all students, faculty, and staff should keep a log of close contacts on a daily basis. Here are a few tips to help you in that work: 

    Keep track of the 3 Ws:

    • Where you went
    • When you went there
    • Who you met

    You can keep track of your movements by:

    • Using an app to record your movement, like the COVIDWise App; 
    • Keeping a diary; 
    • Keeping a list in a safe place; or
    • Taking time-stamped photos of where you’ve been.
  • 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. You may view a training that provides more information on COVID-19 and the University’s health and safety protocols here.

  • Student Conduct

    Please familiarize yourself with the University’s Interim Student Conduct Policies. Note, in particular, that violation of conduct policies carry strict penalties. For example, hosting gatherings/parties at off-campus locations will result in suspension.  

  • Academics

    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 the Law School’s Remote Attendance Request Form and the University’s official Remote Study Request form

    Note that these forms are 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. 

    Grading

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

    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 Orange Phase, virtual meetings are encouraged. 

  • Fall Exams

    Fall Exam Procedures

    Exams will be distributed and taken online. You are free to take your exams wherever you would like, though you will need to make sure that that place has reliable internet access. For those that would like to take exams in the Law School building, we anticipate that some space in the law will be available for this purpose. We have fielded many questions already about exams, and we know that you will have many more (including some special needs or circumstances). We will distribute a comprehensive guide in early November that will address many of these issues.  

    Access to Law School for Study and Exams

    For those of you who will be in Richmond after the Thanksgiving holiday, the Law School will be available to you for study and, as noted above, to take your exams.  Please keep in mind that, while we hope to have sufficient space to accommodate all students who wish to use the building, we cannot yet guarantee that. There will be a system through which students can reserve space well in advance of the study and exam period. As with the exam procedures, we will explain this process in detail in early November.

    Fall Exam Schedule

    • 1L Schedule
      • Dec. 7: Torts
      • Dec. 11: Contracts
      • Dec. 16: Civil Procedure
    • All Other Exams
      • Exams will be distributed and taken online, beginning on Monday Dec. 7 and ending on Friday Dec. 18 (no exams will be adminstered over the weekend).  At this point, we expect all exams to be “flex exams” though a couple exams may end up being scheduled.  We will notify you by early November of any scheduled exams.
  • Spring Semester Update

    Spring Semester

    • Jan. 19: Classes Start
    • April 19: Classes End
    • April 20-23: Study Week
    • April 26-May 7: Exam Period
    • May 8: Commencement

    Spring course schedules will be released in late October (upper-level courses) and early November (1L courses). 

    As with the Fall Semester, the change in occupancy limits for classrooms has required use to shift courses into different classrooms and, on some occasions, to different days and times. Unfortunately, the following courses will not be offered: Corporate Governance, Technology Law, and Non-Profit Organizations. Mergers & Acquisitions will be a 2-credit course instead of a 3-credit course. Additional updates will be made available upon the full release of the schedule. Upper-class students will have the opportunity to add or drop courses in November. Please contact Associate Dean Jack Preis with any questions: jpreis@richmond.edu

    If you wish to study remotely in the spring—whether fully or partially—please let us know by completing the Spring 2021 remote study request form.  “Partially remote” means that you intend to attend one or more of your classes remotely for the entire semester, not that you anticipate having to periodically attend remotely for unexpected personal reasons (such travel conditions, childcare, or illness).  This form will remain open until January 8, 2021, but please fill out the form as soon as you are sure of your Spring 2021 plans as it assists us as we prepare for the upcoming 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. 

    Students who typically attend in person but need to attend one class session or a few class sessions remotely during the semester should complete the Absentee Form.

    (Note that the Attendance Form should not be used by students who will be participating in their course or courses remotely on a regular basis. Those students should use the Remote Attendance Request Form.)

  • Classroom 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 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. 

    Please enter the classroom in a physically distanced fashioned, lining up at least six feet apart outside the classroom if it’s not yet ready for entry. Upon entry, please take a disinfecting wipe from the station to clean your workspace. At the end of the class, professors will dismiss students in small groups. 

    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. 

  • Studying in the Law School Building

    Where Can You Study? 

    You can study in library carrels and at library tables. These spaces are all first-come, first-served, so if you see an empty seat in the common area of the library, you can use it. 

    You can also reserve time in library study rooms (as well as the conference room in the DownUnder). To do so, go here.

    You can study in common areas (e.g., Davis Room and Atrium) as long as you follow the physical distancing rules that apply to those spaces.

    Finally, if you are a member of a student organization with an office, you can study in the organization’s office, provided you follow the organization’s own rules for allocating that space.  

    Will This Be Enough Space? 

    We think so, but we will find more space if need be. The spaces described above will accommodate approximately 150 students at a time. Even in a normal year, this would likely be sufficient because many students do not come to school every day of the week and, when students do come to school, most students do not spend the entire day. This year, however, we expect less use of the building because a significant number of students have indicated that they will be attending classes remotely. Nonetheless, beginning on the first day of classes, we will be closely monitoring study space to be sure we have enough spaces during the times of highest demand.  If need be, we will find additional space and make it available in short order.   

    What is the Proper Study Etiquette

    All students should take care to keep study spaces clean. Wipes are located in close proximity to all study areas so students can wipe them down before and after use. 

    As you would at any other time, be considerate of others studying nearby. This means using headphones if you plan on listening to audio. If you need to attend a class via Zoom when you are in the building, you should reserve a room rather do so in common study areas. (If you need to attend a class remotely while in the building for the entire semester, please contact Dean Preis for assistance.) 

  • Facilities & Building Access

    Building Access
    The building is currently open to students, faculty, and staff. 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. Please note that elevators are limited to a single person at a time. 

    Access the Law School Travel Paths for more info.

    Students with classes in the Jepson Alumni Center should review the JAC Travel Paths.

    Cleaning Procedures

    Custodial Services cleans and disinfects classrooms and meeting spaces each class day, typically early in the morning before the start of classes. (For the Law School, this is typically between the hours of 5:30am-10:00am.)

    High-traffic areas and surfaces are cleaned three times each day. These incluode restrooms, vending machines, copiers/scanners, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, and elevator buttons. 

    Students should clean any shared use work spaces with the provided disinfection wipes before and after use. The wipes use EPA-registered disinfectants identified for use against SARS-CoV-2 specifically. 

    The University has also instituted engineering controls to mitigate the spread of the virus. Learn more about University cleaning disinfection, and engineering controls here.

    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 will 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).

    Lounge 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.

    Students are encouraged to eat outdoors. Inside the building, students may eat in the Down Under or the Davis Lounge (as long as physical distancing is maintained). Outside of these two spaces, students may not remove their masks to eat or drink (but may place bites of food under a mask or use a straw). 

    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.

    Eating/Drinking in the Building

    Masks may only be removed while eating/drinking inside the Carle Davis Commons and Down Under, and 6 feet of physical distance must be maintained. Whenever possible, eating and drinking outside is encouraged. 

    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. The tent is available for reservation by the entire University community so may not be available at all times. 

    Undergraduate Students in the Building

    A limited number of undergraduate courses will take place in the Moot Courtroom and in room 301. These undergraduate students will be informed that they are permitted in the Law School to take classes only, and should not linger or gather in the building. Undergraduate students are required to wear masks and social distance in the same manner as law students, and will be subject to discipline should they not follow these rules. Please note that undergraduates will only use the Moot Courtroom and room 301 during the day and no law school class will be held in those rooms until the evening. Additionally, the rooms will be cleaned daily between undergraduate student use and law student use.

  • Library

    The law library will be open to students starting Aug. 23. Limited seating will be available to match social distancing needs, especially with study tables. For the coming academic year, carrels will not be assigned. 120 total seats will be available in the library (including the carrels), with the capacity to seat about 1/3 of the student body at any given time. Students should clean library work spaces before and after use with provided disinfection wipes. 

    We are able to provide a limited amount of storage based on need. The storage will be in the library in a space separate from available study areas. Due to COVID safety precautions, the storage space available at this time is extremely limited. We cannot provide storage space to every student, and students who are uniquely burdened by lack of storage space will be prioritized. This storage will be secure and accessible to those with assigned spaces anytime the library is open. Use this form to apply for a storage space for the Fall semester.

    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 1-5 p.m. each weekend day.

  • 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.

  • Student Life

    During the Orange Stage, meetings, events, and social gatherings of 25 attendees or fewer may take place. Physical distancing is required. 

    University-sponsored outdoor events of 100 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.