COVID-19 Student FAQs

Please see below for the answers to frequently asked questions relating to COVID-19 and the Law School's contingency planning efforts.

Updated January 14, 2021 

During what hours are Law School buildings accessible? 

Buildings continue to be open as follows, in accordance with University health protocols:

Building

Open Hours

Access Protocols

Jerome Greene Hall

Monday–Friday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Saturday–Sunday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Entry and exit only through 116th Street doors.

 

Public Safety stationed in lobby to control access and verify CUID and Green Pass.

William and June Warren Hall

Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday–Saturday: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday: Closed

Public Safety stationed in lobby to control access and verify CUID and Green Pass.

William C. Warren Hall

Limited access for Law Review student staff, and select faculty and staff

CUID card swipe required to enter. 

Jerome Greene Annex

Closed 

No admittance 

Greenhouse

Closed

No admittance


 

What is the Law School’s plan for the Spring 2021 semester?

Classes will continue to be held in one of three formats—in person, hybrid, or online. 

 

Description

Attendance expectations

In-Person

Faculty and students attend in person on campus

  • All students are expected to attend class on campus, unless they become ill or otherwise obtain permission from their instructor.
  • In-person class sessions will not allow for real-time virtual participation. 

Online

Faculty and students attend online via Zoom

  • All students are expected to attend classes and participate synchronously, i.e., during the time at which the class is scheduled. 

Hybrid

Faculty and some students attend class on campus on a rotating basis, with remaining students attending online via Zoom. 

 

Students in the classroom will also be on Zoom to facilitate class participation

  • Students are expected to come to class on the days to which they are assigned by the instructor.
  • Some students who plan to attend all classes remotely will attend virtually for the entire semester.
  • All students are expected to attend classes and participate synchronously, during the time at which the class is scheduled. 

The instructional format for each course will be listed in the online Curriculum Guide. Please review the table above, including the expectations for on-campus attendance, before identifying your course registration preferences. 

 

What is a hybrid course? Can I enroll in a hybrid course even if I plan to attend classes remotely? 

Hybrid courses take place both on-campus and online. Up to one third of enrolled students wishing to be on campus are present in the classroom on a given class day. Those students are divided into groups and scheduled for in-class attendance by the instructor. Students who plan to attend all classes remotely may register for hybrid classes and will attend all class sessions remotely, just as they would for a fully online course. Students seated in the classroom will be logged into Zoom to facilitate seamless interaction with those attending remotely. 

 

Will classes listed as “in-person” be able to accommodate remote attendance in case of illness, quarantine, or extreme time zone difference?

Courses identified as “in-person” assume that all students will attend all class sessions on campus. Students who plan to attend classes remotely should not register for in-person classes as there will be no opportunity for synchronous online participation. Recordings will be made available for students with accommodations or who become ill, per usual practice. 

 

If I am attending classes from a remote location in a different time zone, how can I participate if I am unable to attend synchronously?

If possible, students should attend their classes synchronously—that is, at the time that the class is being offered—whether in the classroom or online. We encourage students to take extreme time zone differences into account when selecting courses. 

We recognize that, despite best efforts to avoid such circumstances, some students will not realistically be able to attend classes synchronously (e.g., in the case of certain required courses). 

If you are residing in a time zone that makes it so that you cannot realistically attend virtual classes in real time, and instead plan to view recordings of class sessions, you should contact the instructor(s) during the pre-registration period to determine their ability to accommodate asynchronous attendance. To ensure engagement with the material as class sessions occur, faculty may work with you to develop an individualized plan for class participation. If you have any questions about asynchronous participation, feel free to reach out to Student Services at [email protected]

 

Is it possible for me to change my attendance plans once I have identified them? 

Class schedules will be developed based on your chosen Spring Attendance Mode in LawNet at the time when the pre-registration period ends. If your status is listed as “remote,” we will assume that you will attend classes online. If your status is listed as “in person,” we will assume that you will attend classes on campus and rely on it when constructing rotation groups for hybrid classes. 

Students who initially elect remote attendance but subsequently wish to change their fall attendance mode in LawNet to reflect in-person attendance must seek approval from their instructor(s) to attend classes on campus providing that classroom space is available. 

Students who initially elect in-person attendance but subsequently wish to change their mode of attendance to remote based on personal preference (i.e., without any extenuating circumstance compelling them to do so) must seek approval of the instructor(s) to attend hybrid class sessions remotely. If the instructor is unable to accommodate remote synchronous participation, the student may be disenrolled.

If you become ill, test positive for COVID-19, are directed to quarantine by contact tracers, or face another similar extenuating circumstance, please contact your instructor to develop a strategy as you would during any other period of illness or absence. Recordings will continue to be made available wherever possible to students formally granted accommodations. 
 

Where can I find the academic calendar for AY 2020-2021?

The academic calendar for 2020-2021 is available at https://law.columbia.edu/academics/academic-calendar.

 

Where do I find information on tuition and fees for AY 2020-21?

The standard cost of attendance  for AY 2020-2021 is available on the Law School’s website. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance with financial planning.

 

How will classes be graded? 


Law School's normal grading system (letter grades) will be in effect for AY 2020-2021 courses. 
 

If I am traveling to New York from another state or jurisdiction, will I be subject to quarantine prior to coming onto campus? 

Quarantine will be attested through the ReopenCU app. Further details about quarantine and testing requirements are available on the University's website

 

What is the status of University-related travel? 

University-related travel for students, both domestic and international, remains suspended. This includes travel for study abroad and exchange programs facilitated by Columbia. 
 

How will the Law School continue to support students, including those with financial need? 

Shortly after the pandemic’s effects began to affect our operations, the Law School established an emergency relief fund to assist students experiencing financial insecurity as a result of the global health crisis. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and are facilitated through the funding request form on the Law School’s Financial Wellness page.

The Law School has also established a Student Technology Equity Fund, which will provide $1,500 in scholarship aid to every student this year.

Beyond these measures, the Law School will also increase scholarship aid by $1,500 for every student who has been previously awarded institutional grant aid, including our returning 2L and 3L students. Combined with the Student Technology Equity Fund, Law students with the greatest financial need will receive $3,000 in total grant aid, which will more than fully offset tuition growth.

 

If I am not currently receiving an institutional financial aid grant but my financial circumstances have changed, can I still be considered for additional funding? 

For those currently not receiving institutional grants, a need-based process will be available to reevaluate eligibility for this supplemental award. The Office of Financial Aid will administer these reviews. Additional details regarding process and required documentation are available on the Financial Aid website

 

How will this aid be disbursed? Do I need to do anything in order to ensure that I receive it? How will this aid be disbursed? Do I need to do anything in order to ensure that I receive it? 

The additional scholarship support will be directly applied to student accounts in September. Refunds are generally processed automatically as a transfer to your bank account when a valid credit appears on the student account. Students will not need to complete any paperwork to receive this credit.

 

Are LL.M. students eligible to receive funding from the Student Technology Equity Fund? 

Yes. All LL.M. students will receive $1,500 in scholarship aid as described above. 

 

Will emergency funding be available to students through the CARES Act? 

We are pleased to share that we will be making emergency aid available to our neediest students through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds. University information regarding the program can be found here.

 

Can I apply for and reside in University housing even if I am attending classes online? 

Yes. Students attending classes fully online may take up residence in University housing.

 

Will there be any changes to the layout or availability of University housing due to the pandemic? 

Public health guidelines will necessitate changes to some residential buildings, including physical distancing in common areas where possible and reduced occupancy of certain units. 

 

Where can I go if I have questions related to University housing options? 

Information related to on-campus housing can be found here. Columbia Residential has also prepared COVID-19 related FAQs which can be found here. You can also reach out to the Law School's housing liaison with any questions you might have.
 

Will the Law School’s supportive services for students, including academic and career counseling, be available to students if they do not attend classes on campus? 

Yes. The Law School’s wide array of supportive services, including academic and career counseling, academic affairs, IT support, as well as mental health and wellness services, will continue to be available to students regardless of instructional format. 

 

Do I still have access to resources and support offered by Counseling and Psychological Services? 

Yes. Columbia University's Office of Counseling and Psychological Services is still offering virtual appointments and several virtual support groups. Information on how to sign up and the list of support groups can be found here

 

How will the Law School facilitate co-curricular activities (e.g., panel discussions, networking opportunities, student organization participation)?

We will continue to offer a robust array of co-curricular programming and activities regardless of instructional format. Most activities during the fall semester are expected to take place virtually.

 

Will I be able to participate in employer recruitment programs during the 2020-2021 academic year?

We have planned for three major employer recruitment programs for J.D. students. Each program is tailored to allow students to engage with employers at a time when principal recruitment for the sector is expected to be active. The chart below summarizes the program schedules, participating employer types, and students eligible to participate in each program:

Program Interview Dates Employer Types Student Population
Winter Interview Program
(formerly EIP)
January 11-13

Private sector
Government (Very limited)

2L
3L

Spring On-Campus Interview
(OCI)
February 1 - 26

Public Interest
Government 
Private sector

All J.D. Class Years

Each of these interview programs will be hosted virtually. Quiet spaces with sufficient internet bandwidth to accommodate video interviews will be made available on campus for students who need them. 

Information about these programs will be made available through the SJI, OJC and OCS websites. Additionally, these offices will provide remote programming and individual advising to support you in preparing for these interview programs. All counseling appointments in the Fall for all offices will be held by phone or video conference.

*Limited to the Alaska Supreme Court and Second Circuit Staff Attorneys Office. Federal  law clerk hiring for the Class of 2021 began in June and continues on a rolling basis, outside of any OCI Program. Class of 2022 is not yet eligible to apply for Federal Clerkships under the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan.
 

With classes fully or partially online during the 2020-2021 academic year, will I still be able to take the New York Bar examination upon graduation? 

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, which governs bar examination eligibility, issued a waiver of the rules governing distance learning for J.D. and LL.M. students, as well as the LL.M. residency requirement, for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Assuming all other requirements are fulfilled, attending virtual classes in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 does not jeopardize a student's eligibility to take the New York Bar examination upon graduation. 

 

Where can I learn more about bar qualification requirements in jurisdictions other than New York? 

Requirements for bar examination and admission vary by jurisdiction. Students should visit the jurisdiction’s bar examiner website or the National Conference of Bar Examiners Jurisdiction Information page.