Planning for Spring 2021
With nearly half the academic term now safely behind us, Dean Lester provides important updates and information as we look ahead to completing the Fall 2020 semester and preparing for Spring 2021.
Dear members of the Columbia Law School Community,
With nearly half the academic term now safely behind us, I write today with important updates and information as we look ahead to completing the fall semester and preparing for the spring.
Going Online after Thanksgiving
As was announced over the summer, all Law School classes—even if they have held meetings on-campus at some point during the fall semester—will shift to an entirely remote format beginning on Monday, November 30, through the end of the exam period. If you are enrolled in one or more hybrid or in-person classes, please make sure to prepare for this transition (e.g., retrieving books and materials from campus lockers and residences, ensuring that your computer or device is working properly).
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Law School buildings—including the Law Library—will continue to remain accessible as they have since September. Building hours are available here.
Please remember: If you plan to travel to certain states or territories over the Thanksgiving holiday, you may be required to quarantine for 14 days upon your return to New York.
Planning for Spring 2021
While we have no way of knowing how the effects of the pandemic and the implementation of public health measures will take shape in the months to come, we can plan for a range of contingencies, just as we did this past fall. Looking ahead to the spring, we expect that classes will once again be convened in one of three formats—in-person, online, or hybrid.
Students have already received information about selecting spring classes, including the timeline for pre-registration. I want to emphasize, however, that we have updated and clarified the terms of participation in hybrid and in-person classes. Please take note of the attendance expectations outlined in the table below and visit our updated FAQ page for more information.
Faculty and students attend in person on campus
Faculty and students attend online via Zoom
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
Now that we have the benefit of experience, I expect that the spring semester will unfold in an even smoother and more seamless fashion than the fall. We have also made some adjustments to the provisional course schedule to better align with the normal on-campus class schedule, including preserving the lunch hour.
Finally, as Provost Katznelson outlined in his recent message, the University continues to monitor the public health environment with the goal of reaching a decision about our ability to continue with some on-campus teaching and learning by mid-November. We hope that this will be possible, though we know that flexibility and adaptability will continue to be necessary in the face of persistent uncertainty.
In the meantime, I hope you will continue to abide by the Columbia Community Health Compact and take care to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and those around you healthy and safe.
Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law