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Law School Coronavirus FAQ

 

Fall 2020 FAQ for Students

Fordham University has developed a comprehensive plan, Fordham Forward, for successfully restarting operations and welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus. The careful planning effort addresses the public health concerns around restarting the University before a vaccine is commercially available. For more information, please visit Fordham Forward Frequently Asked Questions.

Below, please find frequently asked questions pertaining specifically to Fordham Law School.

 

Health Questions for All Students

Updated 8/21/20
 

Testing

The goal of universal testing is to try, to the greatest degree possible, to ensure that all people coming to campus at the beginning of the semester are not carrying the virus. After the initial rounds of universal testing, the daily screening tool, VitalCheck, will be the primary screening tool for keeping sick people off campus. Additional testing will take place during the semester for (1) individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, (2) as a result of contact tracing, and (3) on a random basis to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. For additional information about testing types accepted, quarantine requirements, and other issues, see the university’s testing FAQ here.

Who is required to be tested?

All students, faculty, and staff who will enter a Fordham building must be tested.  If you do not plan to come to campus at all, then you do not need to be tested and do not need to enter any information through the health portal.

What is the timing for testing?

There will be two rounds of universal testing: before coming to campus and again within fourteen days of arriving on campus. The first test should be conducted within fourteen days of the first time you will enter a Fordham building. If you anticipate that the first time you will be in a Fordham building is for in-person orientation on August 20 or 21, then the fourteen-day period begins either August 6 or 7. If the first time you will be in a Fordham building is for the start of classes, then count back fourteen days from your first class in the building. If you plan to come into a Fordham building for another purpose, such as going to the Lincoln Center bookstore, or to access a study space you have signed up to use, then count back fourteen days from your anticipated visit. 

Please note that for the first round you need to be tested only once, within fourteen days of coming to campus for the first time. For example, if you come to the Law School building for orientation, then you do not need to be tested again before classes start. Similarly, if you come to the Lincoln Center bookstore before classes start, then you do not need to be tested again before orientation or your first class.  

More information will be available soon about the second round of universal testing. It will be conducted on campus.

Can I be tested during the fourteen-day quarantine period?

No. If you are subject to New York State’s quarantine period, you may not be tested during the quarantine period.

What if my test results are delayed beyond the fourteen-day period?

We know that many public testing sites are backlogged, and it can take significantly longer than fourteen days to obtain results. On-campus testing provides the greatest assurance of results within the fourteen-day period because the testing will be processed through a private laboratory.  

If you are not able to receive results from a test taken within fourteen days of your first entry into a Fordham building, please contact the Office of Student Affairs lawstudentaffairs@fordham.edu

What if my test was conducted outside the fourteen-day period?

Then you must be retested within the fourteen-day period.  

How do I enter my test results?

Please go to the health portal at my.fordham.edu to submit test results. 
 

How do I sign up for on-campus testing?

Use these links to sign up for testing: 
Lincoln Center Campus Testing Sign-Up
Rose Hill Campus Testing Sign-Up

How much will on-campus testing cost?

On-campus testing is free.

Will testing be available on campus throughout the semester?

After the initial testing, on-campus testing will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and for random testing to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community.  

If a person does not comply with the testing and screening requirements, will they be allowed to enter the building?

No. University Health Services will ensure compliance with the testing and screening protocols for students. Compliance will be reflected through your Fordham ID, which will provide or deny building access.

 

Quarantine

How do I comply with the quarantine requirements?

Please see the university’s relevant FAQs.

Can I take classes online until my state comes off the quarantine list or I am otherwise able to come to New York City?

No. If you have signed up to take in-person classes, you need to come to in-person classes from the beginning of the semester. As noted above, if your test results are delayed by a couple of days, please contact the Office of Student Affairs.

Please note that this is different from the policy for undergraduate classes referred to in University emails.

 

Other Health Questions

Will there be daily temperature checks at the Law School or do we do that at home with the VitalCheck app?

There will not be temperature checks at the entrances to Fordham buildings. VitalCheck does not require a temperature check, but individuals might want to check their own temperature to respond to the daily questions.

What are the protocols that the school will develop for in-person classrooms?

Every person in the building will wear a mask at all times. We are sharply limiting the density of the building, both in classrooms and in study spaces. In-person classes are capped at 45 or fewer students. Chairs in classrooms and the library will be set with at least six feet of distance from each other. The HVAC system will be set to draw in far more fresh air than normal, it will run 24 hours a day, and we have installed high grade filters that exceed the CDC-recommended standard. There will be signage throughout the building guiding people around the spaces in a way that will maintain physical distancing. For additional details, please see the Law School’s Safety Guidelines.

Where can I eat and drink?

On the Murphy Veranda or on the plaza.

Can I drink water in a classroom or study space?

No.  Drinking requires the removal of a face covering, and this is permitted only in the areas designated for eating and drinking. 

What are the epidemiological metrics that will be used to assess whether the campus needs to shut down and will they be publicly available to the community for monitoring?

Fordham will examine numerous factors, including positive test rates over a seven-day period across the University, cluster testing rates on campus, positive test rates in the broader community, and hospital capacity in the area. Outside epidemiologists are reviewing these measures and Fordham’s closure procedures.  

What are the hours for the custodial and health services?

Custodial staff will be working in the building 24 hours a day to clean and disinfect. Public Safety staff are in the building 24 hours a day and are trained to respond to emergencies.  They can reach one of Fordham's on-call nurse practitioners or request emergency ambulance assistance. 

 

All Students

When do classes start and when does the term end?

Classes will begin on August 26, 2020. All in-person classes will end on November 24, 2020.  The final week of all courses (November 30 to December 3) will be taught online, regardless of the format at the start of the semester.  All exams will be online.

Will classes be online, in-person, or a hybrid of the two?

We are planning a mixed curriculum, with the option of an all-online semester for those students who choose to attend remotely. Please see below for specifics for first-year students and returning J.D., LL.M. and M.S.L. students. 


Will there be extracurricular enrichment activities such as student organization sponsored events, guest lecturers, and other presentations normally done at the Law School?

All of our non-course programming--student group events, speaker series, public service projects, conferences, and much more--will continue, but they will be online. We are working with the Student Bar Association, student leaders, the faculty, and our centers and institutes to build a  robust suite of extracurricular offerings. 

Will there be a disparity in the academic experience between online and in-person classes?

There will be no disparity between the in-person and online experience because the courses, the standards, and the expectations will be the same in all formats. Faculty members are designing their courses for the formats assigned to their courses. In short, we will provide all students the educational experience that made you choose Fordham.

What if I have to miss classes?

Class attendance is mandatory, but if you have to miss a class or two, then you should contact your professors. If you need to miss a significant number of classes, you should contact the Office of Student Affairs. That office can address absences on a case-by-case basis and provide individualized accommodations. If your absence occurs before a midterm or a final exam, please do not contact your professor as exams are anonymously graded and doing so would compromise anonymity.

If I take online classes, do I have to attend the synchronous sessions or can I watch a recording later?

Regardless of format, students are expected to attend synchronous sessions on a regular basis. Accordingly, students should register for courses only if they are at a time at which regular attendance is possible.

Will students taking only online classes have access to the building to study and use printing services?

Students who elect online classes will still have access to the building, the library, classrooms designated as study spaces, and printers in the building. Please note, however, that access to the building will be subject to the entry protocols to which every person entering the building must adhere. Study space capacity will be limited to comply with social distancing protocols.

Although printers will be available in the building, students must have a basic home printer for online exams.

Is it possible to switch between online and in-person? What happens if someone opts for in-person classes and later changes his or her mind?

First-year students may not change formats.  Upper-level students may not  change enrollments beyond the add/drop period. 

Incoming LL.M. students who arrive late due to visa or travel restrictions may switch from the online to the in-person section of Introduction to the U.S. Legal System and Process.

Will tuition be reduced?

We are not adjusting tuition. We will be offering the same high quality education, faculty interaction, robust extracurricular activities and, ultimately, the same degree that we always have. Also, please remember, our costs have not gone down--we have the same faculty, staff, and physical plant.

What will the grading system be like?

Our regular grading system will be in place for all courses across the academic program.

Will fall exams be in-person or remote?

All fall exams will be administered remotely, according to the posted exam schedule.

Will the library and other study spaces be open? If so, will there be a system we use to rent out space?

Yes. Both the library and specified classrooms will be available to all students for studying, although the capacity of these spaces will be sharply limited to comply with physical distancing requirements.

How will the study space reservation system work? 

Please use the library's study space reservation system. The system will begin with the start of classes.  All law students--regardless of whether you are taking classes online or in person--can reserve up to four hours a day of study space in the library and designated classrooms. If we find that the supply of study spaces exceeds demand, we will consider increasing the number of hours students may reserve. 

Please note that anyone coming into the building for any purpose, including using study space, will need to comply with all health protocols, including the testing and screening protocols. 

Do I need a reservation to access the printers in the library?

No.

Will student groups have access to their offices?

We are developing a protocol for very limited access to the building for student groups that need the school resources. All student-group meetings and activities will be conducted online.

What technology do I need for the fall?

Please see the list here. Students are required to have access to a basic black and white printer at home. This is essential for taking exams, which will all be online.

Is there an alternative to lockers for commuters?

Unfortunately not. It is not possible to provide access to lockers and maintain physical distancing.

How and where should I obtain books required for my courses?

Each course listing on LawNET contains any required and recommended books under the “syllabus” tab. (Please note that not all courses have required books.) Students are strongly encouraged to buy books immediately, especially if they intend to have the books delivered rather than buying them at the Lincoln Center Bookstore. Books ordered through Fordham’s online bookstore will be shipped via UPS at no additional cost to the student.

Generally, students who purchase books directly from a publisher are able to have access to an electronic version of the casebook for the semester. For books published by West Academic, the publisher has extended its 15% discount codes to include print and electronic casebooks purchased through store.westacademic.com (use the discount code: FORDHAMLAW). For students who purchase or rent a book published by West Academic through any online or local resellers, West Academic will provide digital access to its titles with proof of purchase.

What course management platforms are faculty using and how do I access my classes?

To streamline course information, all instructors will use either TWEN or Blackboard as a course management platform, unless there is a compelling pedagogical reason for a different platform

Please see the “First assignment” information on LawNET to find out which platform will be used in your courses.

How do I contact faculty members?

All faculty members will hold a virtual office hour or the equivalent. Please see syllabi for more information and Zoom links. If you want to speak with a faculty member you are not taking a course from this semester, email the professor to find out their office hour.

What if I have a disability that affects my ability to take online classes and/or exams?

If you are a student with a disability or with a temporary impairment requiring in-class and/or exam accommodations, please contact Abel Montez, Director of Student Affairs, at amontez@fordham.edu. Early disclosure is essential in order to allow sufficient time for the Law School to review, approve, and implement accommodations. For more information, please visit https://www.fordham.edu/info/21572/counseling_and_services  

What happens if health conditions require in-person classes to move online?

Given the uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak, we may need to move in-person classes online if required by health officials or the University. This may happen with little notice, as it did when the University was locked down in March 2020. Please be prepared for the possibility of this happening again. In the event of a move from in-person to online, your course syllabi will have up to date information about how the class will operate online.

First-Year J.D. Students

How many classes will be offered in person vs. online?

Full-time students will have one of their substantive subjects taught in person in a class of about 45 students that meets twice a week in the building. Students who opted to go all online will have the same program but all classes will be taken online. 

Part-time students will have an all-online program in the fall.

Whether taken online or in person, there will be no difference in the substance of classes or the quality of the education.

How long will the all-online program last?

The all-online program is planned for this semester only. When the health situation permits, we will return to in-person classes and expect all students to join us in the building at that time.

Will classes be recorded?

All 1L doctrinal classes except Legal Writing and Research will be recorded, regardless of whether the class is taught in person or online; further, the recordings will be posted to the course management platform (TWEN or Blackboard) and will be available for at least two weeks. There are two limited exceptions: (1) the instructor decides, at their discretion, not to record specific class sessions or portions of a class session where, in the instructor’s judgment, the pedagogical and pandemic-related benefits of recording are outweighed by the interests of enabling conversations on topics involving difficult or sensitive issues, and (2) an outside speaker requests that the class period not be recorded.

Other courses will be recorded at the instructor’s discretion. To find the instructor’s policy, see “Course policies” under each course on LawNET.

Please remember that the recordings are the property of instructors, and students may not download or capture the recording in any manner, share the recording, or use it for non-class purposes.  

 

Returning J.D. Students

Will classes be online, in-person, or a hybrid of the two?

We are planning to open the building for a limited number of classes. Courses will be conducted in different formats. Students may choose a fully online format if they wish. For more information on courses and registration, see the course schedule and this explanatory memo.

If required by the University, state, or city, we will shift to all-remote learning.

Will classes be recorded?

Classes will be recorded at the instructor’s discretion. To find the instructor’s policy, see “Course policies” under each course on LawNET.

Please remember that the recordings are the property of instructors, and students may not download or capture the recording in any manner, share the recording, or use it for non-class purposes. 

 

International Students

Please note: These answers are based on information current as of July 27, 2020, and incorporate our reading of the most recent ICE guidance and clarifying questions. We will continue to update this information as additional guidance is issued.

How can I remain eligible to be in the U.S.?

You can remain in the U.S. under an F-1 visa if you are registered as a fulltime student, regardless of whether your classes are in-person, online, or a combination of in-person and online.

I am an F-1 visa holder currently abroad. What happens if I am unable to get to the U.S. by the start of classes due to travel restrictions, and/or flight availability?

If you cannot be here for the start of the semester (August 26), please choose an online-only schedule.

All incoming students are urged to do their best to attend scheduled orientation events in person, but we can accommodate students who arrive late with an all-online  orientation. Please be in touch with Assistant Dean Gordon-Somers (incoming J.D. students) or Assistant Dean Jaeger-Fine (incoming LL.M., M.S.L., or S.J.D. students) if you will not arrive in time for orientation.

I am a returning F-1 student who prefers to stay in my country for the fall semester. Can I do so?

Yes! Register for fully online classes. We have been informed that doing so will not affect your F-1 status.
 

I am an incoming student who plans to study entirely online this semester. What should I do?

Incoming students who do not yet hold an F-1 visa should remain outside of the U.S. if they plan to study entirely online in the fall 2020 semester.

What about my OPT and CPT eligibility?

In order to be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you will need to have two consecutive semesters as an F-1 student. If you spend the fall 2020 semester outside of the U.S., you would need two subsequent consecutive semesters in order to apply for OPT or CPT.

What should I do if I continue to have questions about my status or other immigration related matters?

International students should continue to work with OIS on visa-related matters. We also are making arrangements with a leading immigration law firm, Fragomen, which has confirmed its willingness to offer information and advice in extraordinary circumstances on a pro bono basis. If you believe that you have issues that require legal counsel, please contact Assistant Dean Gordon-Somers (J.D. students) or Assistant Dean Jaeger-Fine (LL.M., M.S.L., and S.J.D. students).