Law

Student Resources and Information

Fall Semester 2020 FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQ’s will be updated every Friday during the Fall 2020 semester.  New information will appear at the top of the FAQ’s for one week and then placed into the appropriate category below.  Should you have any questions about the fall semester, please email askuclaw@uc.edu.


Health and Safety

Do I need to self-quarantine if I am traveling to Cincinnati from out-of-state?

UC's Return to Campus plan addresses this question:  "Ohio's latest guidance and travel advisories are updated weekly. Currently, those entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days."  In addition, travelers from these locations or other locations with substantial COVID activity should report to COVIDWatch@uc.edu. For additional detail, please review the UC Return to Campus Plan.

What is the College of Law’s plan in the event a student, faculty, or staff member who has been in the building tests positive for COVID-19?

The College of Law is part of a larger university that has dedicated resources to implement a plan should a student, faculty or staff member test positive for COVID-19. On-site testing will be available for those with symptoms (information forthcoming).

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone who has been exposed to COVID-19, you must Self-report to University Health Services (UHS) at COVIDWatch@uc.edu.  Other members of the community may hear from the UC Health COVID-19 Core Team via email regarding an exposure on campus. 

UC’s Environmental Health and Safety will assess the College of Law building and determine a safe and effective course of action for cleaning and sanitization.

For additional information, see the UC Return to Campus guide here.

Aside from class capacity limitations, what other safety measures have been taken to maintain a safe campus environment?

In implementing UC’s Return to Campus plan, these safety protocols will remain in effect until further notice.

  • Before returning to campus for the first time, all employees and students must successfully complete a brief online information session to ensure awareness of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines. Employees may currently access the online information session at the top bullet located on the Safety Protocols page, while a tutorial link for students will be available via Canvas mid-August.
  • Before returning to campus for the first time, all supervisors and lab leaders must complete a health safety assessment of their workplace settings.
  • Before coming to campus each day or leaving one’s university housing living quarters to go to other parts of campus, all members of the campus community must complete a self-administered wellness check based on CDC and ODH guidelines. All students who have symptoms that may relate to COVID-19 should contact University Health Services immediately at COVIDWatch@uc.edu.
  • All members of the campus community must wear facial coverings on campus, except while eating or alone in a private space, or as otherwise exempted.
  • All members of the campus community must adhere to social-distancing requirements.
  • All areas must clean and sanitize their workplace settings throughout the day. These efforts will supplement cleaning and sanitizing activities that will occur after hours by our facilities staff. Facilities Management has posted information regarding supplies, cleaning practices and more.
  • All members of the campus community must continue to abide by restrictions on travel.
  • All students with questions related to COVID-19 and risk factors should contact University Health Services via COVIDWatch@uc.edu.

The College of Law building is closed to outside visitors until further notice.  To facilitate contact tracing, all law students will be assigned seats in each face-to-face class and students will be required to sign in and out of library seats. 

The College of Law building will be cleaned five days per week, plus community members are expected to wipe down their personal spaces after leaving in classrooms and the library.  There will be cleaning supplies available throughout the building.


Teaching and Learning

When will classes and exams take place?

The fall semester will begin with the short course week on August 17, with all regularly scheduled fall classes beginning on August 24.  In lieu of Fall Break, the College will suspend classes on October 12 and 13 for a mid-semester Reading Period.   All in-person instruction will conclude on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Classes held after Thanksgiving will be conducted remotely, with all classes ending on Wednesday, December 2.  Students will not have access to the building after Tuesday, November 24.

Exams will take place Wednesday, December 9, through Friday, December 18.  You may access the academic calendar here

How will classes be delivered?

The College’s top priority is the health and safety of our community.  To comply with social distancing rules, and to accommodate restrictions involving faculty and students who may be immunocompromised and unable attend in-person classes, it is necessary for the College to have a range of options for Fall 2020 courses.  This will include a thoughtful blend of in-person, online and hybrid courses.

Will all online courses be synchronous?

Some Fall 2020 online courses will be synchronous (with designated meeting times) and some will be asynchronous (without designated meeting times).  The revised fall semester grid is attached to this email.  Synchronous courses are listed on the days and times the classes will meet online.  Asynchronous courses are listed on the final page of the grid.

Can I select all online classes this fall?

Yes. 2L, 3L, and LLM students who cannot or who do not wish to be on campus will still be able to enroll in a variety of courses that are fully online and make progress toward their law degrees.

What will the in-person portion of a class be like?

You will have plenty of space to spread your books out because of social distancing rules. We will have protocols for cleaning classrooms and for managing distance in our hallways. Everyone will be wearing a mask and have designated seats.

What if I am immunocompromised, or have a loved one who is immunocompromised, and I do not feel comfortable attending in-person courses this fall?

We understand that some students may not feel comfortable attending in-person classes for a variety of reasons, and we want to provide alternative methods of attendance that meet your unique circumstances. For this reason,all “live” classes will be broadcast via WebEx and recorded. To request an in-person attendance exemption from class(es) in the fall semester, please complete this form so that Assistant Dean Rucker can notify your professors.

Does Cincinnati Law plan to have both in-person and online courses for Spring 2021?

The honest answer is we just do not know. Like our plan for the fall 2020 semester, any plan we adopt for the spring 2021 semester must comply with University standards and state regulations.  We will continue to monitor those standards and regulations and update you as we receive additional guidance. 


Final Exams and Grading

When will final exams take place?

Final exams will be administered remotely this semester, and the exam period will begin Wednesday, December 9, and end on Friday, December 18.  There will be final exams scheduled on Saturday, December 12.  The final exam schedule will be available to you in mid-August. 

How will exams and grades be handled?

All final exams will be administered remotely; however, the details of all exams are still under active consideration.  We will return to our regular grading practices for the upcoming year.  Our grading policies for all students may be accessed via the Student Handbook here.

With final exams online, what will happen if the internet goes out and how will the College of Law ensure there will be no cheating?

Students should plan now for access to reliable internet during the final exam period.  If you do not have access to reliable internet, please contact Student Affairs regarding your specific situation and we will see what resources are available to support you.

The College is evaluating remote proctoring options with companies that have experience proctoring high-stakes exams, including law school exams.

With our return to our regular grading practices, how does this account for disparities with internet connections, living situations, parenting responsibilities and exams?

Some of inequities experienced during transition to remote learning in spring 2020 were exacerbated by the immediate onset of the global pandemic and may have since subsided, while many others are persistent, structural inequities.  Such inequities are extremely personal and largely driven by individual circumstances.  Contact Student Affairs if you face difficulties or inequities based on your personal circumstances, and we will address these issues on a case-by-case basis.


Student Engagement

Will student organizations be able to host in-person events in the College of Law building?

Our immediate priorities during the Fall 2020 semester are to provide building space for in-person classroom instruction and for quiet studying.  As such, the College of Law building will not be available for non-academic events, including student meetings, lectures, workshops, student lounge and office space, or other student-led events at this time. We will revisit the College of Law’s policy on non-academic events in the law building on September 30.  

Although the College of Law building is unavailable for non-academic events, law students may meet in other locations on campus, assuming such space is available and students comply with all university policies for in-person meetings.  Students may see what rooms are available throughout campus using 25Live.

What about in-person, off-campus events?

We understand that many of you are eager to see your classmates in person – we wish we could see you all in person, too! But Ohio continues to restrict social gatherings to no more than 10 people. All students hosting student organization or other school-sponsored events are expected to comply with local and state public health guidance and are strongly encouraged to host events virtually.  Students who host off-campus student organization events that do not comply with current public health guidance will not be reimbursed for costs associated with those events. You should consult UC’s Public Safety COVID-19 page for updates and public health guidance as you plan events throughout the semester.

For more information about university policies governing student organizations, see the Student Activities & Leadership Development Return to Campus Plan here.

Can I request a leave of absence for a semester or academic year?

Yes. Some of you, for any number of reasons, may decide that a semester or year off from law school is in your best interest. We understand that, and Assistant Dean Rucker can help you with requesting a leave of absence from the College for one semester or one academic year. Withdrawals for longer periods of time must be approved by Dean Williams.


Building Access

Will the building be open?

The building will be open Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 7:30pm. The building will be closed on Saturday and Sunday and there will be no 24-hour access to the building until further notice.

Will we be able to access our lockers?

Yes, students will have access to their lockers and are expected to follow social distancing guidelines.

Will we have access to student spaces, such as student organization offices, the student cafeteria and lounge areas?

The primary purpose of building access is to facilitate face to face instruction.  Students will not have access to student spaces because of the university’s mandate that we reduce density on campus and have students and employees work remotely to the extent that they can.

Will there be space in the building for students who need to attend online classes?

The purpose of online classes is to reduce density on campus to reduce the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19.  It defeats the purpose if students are in the building attending online classes; however, we do understand students may be unable to attend an online class due to their schedules.  We will provide limited space in the building for commuters to attend class, and it will be available first come, first serve.


Library Access

Will the library be open?

Yes.  The law library will be open the same hours that the building will be open to students. However, circulation services will only be available M-F from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

There will be limited seating within the law library to comply with social distancing guidelines. There will be 61 seats available for study. Each seat will need to be reserved for a specific period of time in advance through an online reservation system (more information forthcoming).

Will the broader campus be open for us to access other study areas since space in the library will be very limited?

Yes, other libraries on campus will be available to law students, operating on limited hours with reduced capacity.  The specific hours for each library will be available to the community prior to August 24.

For more information about law library services please visit the law library webpage.


Technology

How is the College preparing for the best technology and pedagogy to support online learning?

The College has always prided itself on its teaching. Our faculty, too, is making the transition to this new environment, and they have engaged experts in digital learning to ensure they have the best guidance in developing and presenting their courses this fall. Many of our faculty enrolled in a course this summer taught by UC Online which focuses on effective use of technology and pedagogy, while others are attending workshops led by College of Law library faculty on technology and pedagogy.

Does the College of Law have specific technology recommendations for students?

Recommended Operating Systems:

Windows 10

MacOS – The last three releases.

Recommended Hardware:

Windows

  • Processor: 8th generation Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 3 with 2.0Ghz clock speed and quad-core (recommended)
  • Memory (RAM): 8GB (minimum), 16GB (recommended)
  • Hard Drive: 256GB (minimum), 512GB (recommended)
  • Built-in or External Webcam with Microphone and Speakers (These will be needed to participate in synchronous online classes.) 

Mac

  • Processor: 8th generation Intel i5 with 2.0Ghz clock speed and quad-core (recommended)**
  • Memory (RAM): 8GB (minimum), 16GB (recommended)
  • Hard Drive: 256GB (minimum), 512GB (recommended)
  • We recommend MacBook Pro over MacBook Air
  • Built-in or External Webcam with Microphone and Speakers (These will be needed to participate in synchronous online classes.) 

Recommended Internet Connectivity:

We recommend that everyone test their internet speed using speedtest.net.  Anything less than 25 Mbps is not a high-speed connection and may affect your ability to participate with video in your online classes. Many of your online classes will be interactive and having high speed internet access will enhance your ability to participate.

Unsupported Devices:

While recent Windows Surface Pro tablets are supported, tablets running iOS (iPads), Android, or Windows RT are not supported for exams and are not appropriate laptop computers. Additionally, computers running Windows 10 S, Chrome OS, and Linux are not supported and will not work with the exam software. If you have any further questions regarding recommendations and support, please contact the UC Law IT department.


Tuition/Fees

Can I expect any university fee reductions in light of COVID-19?

Yes.  The university has reduced the General Fee to $358.00 (10% reduction) and the Campus Life Fee to $218.45 (15% reduction).  Other tuition and fees related to instruction, technology and most program fees will continue as these support ongoing teaching and academic advising, allowing students to earn and receive full academic credit toward graduation and degrees.