Creating a Safe Learning Space for Fall 2020

August 19, 2020
Semester starts with new precautions in place

On August 24, law students will resume in-person learning for the Fall 2020 semester – with some special measures in place to ensure the health of the community. 

University and Law School administrators have spent the summer months adapting building and learning plans to maximize safety for students. All members of the University community will wear masks when in the building, and physical distancing will be in place throughout all classrooms and building spaces. In addition: 

  • The class schedule has been re-arranged to accommodate smaller class sizes – including dividing the first-year class into six sections instead of the usual three.
  • All students are tested for COVID before returning to campus. All University of Richmond community members are required to take a daily screening for COVID symptoms.
  • Each classroom is equipped with new technology to allow faculty to engage remote learners and in-person learners simultaneously. Students may choose if they would like to attend classes in-person or virtually.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipe stations were added throughout the law school building and campus.
  • The University upgraded air handling systems across campus, including adding UV-C filtration and bi-polar ionization to existing systems to neutralize viral particles.

Students will also see a modified schedule, with classes taking place through Nov. 20, followed by a Thanksgiving break and a study week before exams are administered remotely in December.  

Law faculty have spent the summer planning for this new learning environment – which includes creating contingency plans should the need for fully remote learning arise. Professor Jessica Erickson, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, has led a series of workshops for Richmond Law faculty, and also launched a series of helpful articles for law faculty across the country on the well-known PrawfsBlawg.

“Our faculty and staff are making every effort possible to ensure the best semester possible – from both academic and health perspectives,” said Dean Wendy Perdue. “We’ve missed having our students on campus, and are looking forward to welcoming them back!”

As part of the re-opening process, the University created a Physical Distancing Framework, as well as an official Fall 2020 Plan that was submitted to and approved by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia. 

“All of us are working intently to prepare for a safe and enriching fall semester for our students,” said President Ronald Crutcher in a June 11 email to the community. “I know that together we will continue to meet this moment with creativity, determination, generosity, and success — and, once again, demonstrate the distinct and transformative power of a Richmond education.”

Learn more about the University’s comprehensive plan here, and read more about law-specific policies and procedures here.