FAQs Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The following questions and answers are designed to supplement the guidance posted by the University here.
WILL OUR CLASSES BE IN PERSON THIS FALL?
We are currently planning to offer most classes in person. However, some upper-level classes will be offered in an online, distance-education format; others will be offered in a hybrid format that utilizes both in-person and distance-education methods. For those classes that meet in person, we expect to offer live remote access as well. Upper-level students will be notified of any course-format revisions in time to adjust their fall schedules prior to the start of the semester.
DO I HAVE TO ATTEND CLASSES IN PERSON?
If you choose to take classes remotely, you may reside in Carbondale or elsewhere this fall. We want you to make the best choice for your personal situation.
IF I CHOOSE TO ATTEND REMOTELY, CAN I WATCH RECORDINGS OF MY CLASSES ONLINE ON MY OWN SCHEDULE?
If you wish to attend a class remotely, you will be expected to do so in “real time”—that is, during the live meeting of the class. Students attending remotely will be expected to participate fully in the class discussion.
Regular and punctual attendance is required in all Law School courses. It is not a substitute for attendance to listen to a recording of a class session at a later time. Faculty members may adopt more specific attendance policies.
If you become ill, or need to care for someone who is ill, or do not have childcare because of COVID-19, please contact Assistant Dean Judi Ray for assistance with appropriate accommodations.
DO I NEED TO TELL YOU WHETHER I'M ATTENDING IN PERSON OR NOT?
Yes, you will receive a survey later this summer asking you to confirm your plans. Your responses will be used for planning purposes but will not be binding for the entire semester. We expect your choice may change depending on the public health situation and your personal circumstances. However, some instructors may require that a more definite election be made at the beginning of the semester. If so, this will be communicated to you prior to the beginning of classes.
WILL GRADES BE GIVEN THIS FALL, OR WILL CLASSES BE PASS/FAIL?
Coursework will be graded according to usual Law School policies.
IF I ATTEND CLASSES REMOTELY, WILL I BE GRADED ON A SEPARATE CURVE OR BE ABLE TO TAKE CLASSES PASS/FAIL OR RECEIVE OTHER FORMS OF RELIEF?
No. Students will all be graded according to the usual rules of the School of Law, and will all be graded together regardless of whether they took a class in person or attended some or all sessions remotely.
IF ALL CLASSES (OR SOME CLASSES) ARE MOVED ONLINE WHEN THEY WERE ORIGINALLY EXPECTED TO BE OFFERED IN PERSON, WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT ON THE LAW SCHOOL’S GRADING POLICIES?
If any or all classes are moved to an online-only format, we expect them to continue to be graded as before. We did move to a pass/fail format last spring, but that was in part because of the sudden and unexpected nature of the change that everyone had to make.
HAS THE FALL 2020 ACADEMIC CALENDAR CHANGED?
No. Classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, August 17, and continue through the last scheduled class day, Friday, November 20, 2020. However, the University is asking students not to return to campus after Thanksgiving break.
WHAT ABOUT MIDTERMS AND FINAL EXAMS?
All law school exams will be conducted remotely. We will provide more information about exam policies and procedures before school starts in August.
WHAT IS THE LAW SCHOOL DOING TO KEEP THE BUILDING CLEAN AND SAFE?
The Law School is committed to the health of everyone in our community. In addition to reducing classroom density, we will be making sure that classrooms and other spaces are cleaned regularly. We have staggered the start and end times of classes to reduce density during breaks and passing periods. Classrooms will have designated entrances and exits; some staircases will be designated as “up” or “down.” We will be following other policies recommended by the University to keep everyone as safe as possible.
WHAT IS THE LAW SCHOOL DOING TO REDUCE CLASSROOM DENSITY?
The University has capped occupancy of classrooms at approximately 20% of their seating capacity, and is requiring appropriate common-sense distancing within that limit. Chairs will be removed and signs will be posted to aid compliance with these limits. Additionally, instructors will utilize seating charts to facilitate the tracing of student contact should the need arise.
WILL MASKS BE REQUIRED?
Yes, everyone in the building will need to wear masks in class and outside class, unless you’re in a room by yourself. The University is requiring this (https://siu.edu/coronavirus/fall2020/) for the protection of everyone in the community. If you cannot comply with this rule, you are welcome to take your courses through the online option instead.
WILL WE BE ABLE TO STUDY IN THE LAW SCHOOL?
If you plan to attend classes in person, we generally will encourage you to come to the building for that purpose and then depart when you’re done for the day. We hope to keep the population density in the law school low.
We know that will not work for everyone, however, and limited space will be available in the building for students to attend their online classes and to study.
WILL THE LAW LIBRARY BE OPEN?
The Law Library will be open but with limited services and capacity and rules about physical distancing. The library may serve (for example) as a place where students can attend their online classes that meet between their in-person classes. More information about library hours and policies will be available before the semester starts.
WILL COURSE MATERIAL BE AVAILABLE ON RESERVE IN THE LIBRARY?
The Law Library will not be circulating items from our Course Reserve collection, including casebooks, nutshells, hornbooks, and other study aids. All students are expected to be in possession of required course materials on the first day of class without reliance on the library’s collection.
WHAT ABOUT FACULTY OFFICE HOURS OR MEETINGS WITH ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF?
They will mostly happen remotely. Office hours and advising will all be just as plentiful as ever, they will most likely just be delivered by phone or on Zoom. Your professor will provide information about student–faculty contact outside of designated class time in the syllabus.
WHAT IF I GET SICK?
If you become ill, or need to care for someone who is ill, or do not have childcare because of COVID-19, please contact Assistant Dean Judi Ray for assistance with appropriate accommodations. Also, refer to the University’s FAQs on testing, tracing, and quarantining.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE IN THE LAW SCHOOL GETS SICK?
The Jackson County Health Department, in coordination with medical health providers and SIU, has established protocols for contact tracing according to standards set by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SIU Emergency Operations Center personnel assist public health officials with contact tracing. Emergency Center staff may collect work schedules, class schedules, and phone numbers and relay the information to tracing staff. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing personnel reach out to request information on who they’ve interacted with recently. Those who are directly affected will be contacted. We have a responsibility to alert segments of population determined to be at risk. In the event of an immediate, significant danger to the health or safety campus community, campus officials may issue an emergency notification.