The Remote-Only Option
Q: Will there be a discount for students who opt for all-remote instruction?
A: Whether to offer a discount to all-remote students is a university decision that we are not authorized to make. However, we must note that the expenses associated with delivering the academic program this fall are increased, not reduced. Thus, a discount would only exacerbate the financial challenges that the Law School is facing as a result of COVID-19. These financial challenges arise from the prospect of reduced funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, from the university, and from other sources of revenue. Any discount that were offered would require cuts in other parts of the budget, of which personnel expenses are the largest component. That said, any student who has suffered adverse consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that has materially altered her or his financial situation should contact the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid at the Law School to discuss what can be done.
Q: If I opt for remote-only learning, am I still allowed to participate in a clinic?
A: Yes. Some clinics plan to have fully Remote classes and some plan to have Blended classes; the classes will be coded to indicate their category. In both types of classes, students can request to do some in-person work, such as meeting with clients or going to court, if they wish to do so and that is available. Questions about a clinical class should be directed to the faculty member teaching it.
Q: Which in-person (FS) courses are unavailable to remote-only students?
A: Immigration Clinic II is the only course restricted to in-person only in the Spring of 2021.
Q: For remote participants in in-person (FS) courses, what will be the nature of the participation?
A: The in-person (FS) courses that will be available to remote students will offer real-time, live-streaming of the courses, as well as a recording of the course that may be viewed at any time. Additionally, professors in these courses, at a minimum, will provide multiple additional engagement opportunities for remote participants outside of class meeting times, such as additional office hours, accepting questions by chat or discussion boards, or other online means of interaction, depending on the individual professor’s style.
Q: If I opt for remote-only learning, am I still allowed to do an internship/externship?
A: Yes. If you are obtaining externship credit, you will need to abide by the requirements of the externship program as modified for fall '20. These modified requirements are posted on MyLaw at Department/Externships/Documents/Fall 2020 Externship FAQs 06.23.20.pdf. Questions about externships should be directed to Associate Dean Rob Kaplan ([[w|rekapl]]). Questions about non-credit-bearing internships should be directed to your advisor in the Office of Career Services.
Q: If I opt for remote-only learning, may I still attend in-person an FS course for which I am registered?
A: Yes, but we will have to develop a process for tracking and managing this.
Q: If I elect remote-only status, may I still use the library?
Q: Would it be possible to accommodate student flexibility throughout a semester, permitting movement into and out of remote and in-person status?
A: Due to accreditation requirements, we have to create two sections of each in-person course, a remote section and an in-person section. Students will be registered for the one that they opt into at the outset of the semester. If an in-person student has circumstances change in a manner that makes in-person attendance no longer permissible, that student may shift to the remote section. Conversely, if a remote-only student determines that they would like to convert to participating in a course as an in-person student, that will be permitted as well, contingent on classroom capacity. However, we cannot permit students to repeatedly move back-and-forth between the in-person and remote sections. Requests to switch sections will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
The Fall Calendar, Exams, and Grading
Q: Is the fall calendar finalized?
A: Yes. There will be no further changes to the fall calendar; there will be no Fall Break and (with one exception for the LLM legal writing course) no classes held on Saturday. All exams will be remote and administered after Thanksgiving. The schedule has been designed to comply with ABA-required minimum-contact hours requirements.
Q: Why did you move all exams to remote administration after Thanksgiving?
A: We previously hoped to administer some in-person exams before Thanksgiving. However, that is no longer feasible due to (1) reduced classroom capacities, and (2) the need to ensure an even playing field between students who are present for in-person exams and those who are completely remote this semester. Therefore, all exams are now remote. The point of ending classes prior to Thanksgiving is to permit students to return home and not have to return until the spring semester.
Q: When will the exam schedule be ready and how will exams be scheduled?
A: We are currently working on the exam schedule, which will offer exams either on a self-scheduled basis, or a fixed-day schedule, which would require students to complete the exam on a particular day within a fixed period of time.
Q: Will grades return to normal in the fall or be pass/fail?
A: Grades will return to the normal scale in the fall.
Health & Safety Measures
Q: What measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of students who choose to return to campus?
A: The university will be providing wellness kits to all students as they return to campus, which will include masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes. There will be extensive testing upon arrival, and all members of the community will be required to comply with physical distancing requirements and the university’s face covering policy. More information about the university’s health and safety measures is available here.
Q: Can you explain the university’s policy regarding quarantining prior to arrival on campus?
A: All domestic students are expected to self-quarantine for eight days before arriving on-campus; students coming from international destinations must self-quarantine per CDC guidelines (currently 14 days). Quarantine may occur anywhere the student feels most comfortable, e.g. at home with family, at an apartment, at a hotel, etc. When traveling to Williamsburg, all students should practice prevention to mitigate risks of contracting COVID-19, such as wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distance and washing hands often. Traveling to Williamsburg does not require a student to “reset” the quarantine clock upon arrival, as long as they quarantined for the appropriate time and practiced transmission prevention during travel. More information is available here.
Q: Can you provide more details about William & Mary’s testing program?
A: A testing program is under development that will require all students to be tested for COVID-19 prior to arrival, using a self-administered test that will be mailed to them by the university (more guidance here). This testing program is intended for all students, on-campus, off-campus, undergraduates and graduates. After that, testing of students will be available on demand, regardless of whether the student is symptomatic. The university will also conduct periodic prevalence testing (based on random sampling) to assess the incidence of the disease among the campus population. At the end of the semester, students can choose to be tested prior to returning home. Keep an eye on the university’s Path Forward website for further updates.
Q: Where can we go to get medical care while attending the Law School?
A: William & Mary has announced a long-term, strategic partnership with VCU Health, which will occupy the building at 332 North Henry Street, which is just down the street from the Law School. This partnership significantly increases the capacity to provide access to health care and to expanded mental health services on campus. Included in the agreement is management of William & Mary’s university-wide COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty, and staff.
Q: What is the deadline for cancelling my contract for University housing, including the Graduate Complex?
A: The University is permitting students to cancel housing contracts without penalty until August 27. Beginning August 28, it will revert to the petition and refund schedule as outlined in the housing contract terms and conditions.
Q: If the Governor issues a Stay At Home Order during the semester, will students be required to vacate the Graduate Housing Complex (Grad Plex)?
A: Right now the university has every intention to permit graduate students to remain in residence at the Graduate Complex if a Stay At Home Order is directed by the Governor after the start of the semester. However, there are some extreme conditions that might require a full evacuation of campus, and all students should be prepared for this possibility.
International Students & Scholars
Q: Where is university information for international students and scholars available on the website?
A. You can visit the International Student COVID-19 FAQ page on the university website for the latest information.
Q: How can students, faculty and staff purchase an hourly or daily parking pass?
A: Parking Services advises that annual parking passes are the most cost-effective option if you plan to be at the Law School at least 2 days a week. They now offer two other options: Full Day ($6) or Evening ($3) “scratcher” passes or hourly parking ($2.50/hr.) in the Grad Complex Overflow lot. Detailed information can be found on the university’s Parking & Transportation website.
Law School Café
Q. Will the Law School Café (Zime) be open for business in spring 2021?
A. Zime café plans on closing for the fall semester. The university’s Office of Auxiliary Services feels that with the number of faculty, staff and students who will be working remotely, there will be insufficient customer traffic to justify opening Zime café during the 2020-2021 academic year.
The communal refrigerator and microwaves next to Zime will not be available during the 2020-2021 academic year, nor will any water distribution fountains be available for use. The vending machines will be operational, with disinfecting wipes positioned nearby to wipe down after use.