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T14 Law Schools Go Virtual in Response to Coronavirus (1)

March 12, 2020, 7:59 PMUpdated: March 12, 2020, 10:04 PM

The top rated law schools in the country will all be moving to virtual instruction in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

All of the T14 law schools, which hold the top rankings in U.S News and World Report, had announced plans to move to virtual instruction in the coming weeks as of Thursday.

Many other law schools across the country, including those in areas among the most affected by the virus, such as Washington State and New York, have also suspended in-person classes.

Harvard Law School brought broad attention to the issue of coronavirus spread with an announcement March 10 that students will be asked to go remote.

The school plans to shift from in-person instruction to remote classes beginning on March 23, immediately following the school’s spring break “until further notice.”

Yale Law extended its spring break by one week until March 20 to align with the undergraduate recess, and will move all classes online thereafter. The law school has also canceled all in-person events until April 5.

Elsewhere in the eastern U.S, Cornell has begun a transition process so that all of its classes will be online by April 6 through the rest of the semester. The University of Pennsylvania has extended its spring break one week and will move all classes to virtual instruction beginning March 23.

In New York City, where known coronavirus infections reached 62 as of Thursday morning, according to the city’s health department, T14 law schools New York University Law and Columbia Law took serious precautions.

Columbia has shifted to remote teaching and plans to conduct virtual classes through the remainder of the semester.

NYU moved to virtual instruction Thursday. Classes and office hours will be conducted remotely through March 27, according to the university.

Washington D.C. declared a state of emergency over coronavirus on Wednesday, and schools in the capital and Virginia are in the midst of evaluating and changing their policies.

T14 school Georgetown Law has moved to virtual classes and has suspended all in-person events through May 15. The University of Virginia will be moving its classes online by March 19 and plans to assess the policy again after April 5 at the earliest.

Further south, Duke suspended all on-campus classes “until further notice” and will transition to remote instruction for all of its schools, including its law school.

A trio of T14 schools in the Midwest have also made adjustments. The University of Michigan canceled all classes for the remainder of this week and will begin teaching them remotely on March 16 through the end of the semester.

Northwestern extended spring break one week until April 4 and will conduct classes remotely for at least three weeks thereafter, while nearby University of Chicago Law said it will shift to remote learning for the rest of the spring quarter, beginning March 30.

In California, two other members of the T14 in the heavily-hit Bay Area are focused on prevention. Stanford suspended in-person classes for two weeks beginning March 10, and Berkeley Law has canceled law school in-person events and is teaching all classes remotely until March 26.

The coronavirus outbreak has altered policies far beyond the T14, including in the two U.S. states with the most confirmed cases as of Thursday, Washington State and New York.

In Washington the first U.S. known coronavirus case was announced Jan.21.

Law schools in Seattle have since responded to the growing number of cases in the region.

University of Washington’s School of Law has remained open but many services are operating remotely until March 30, when the school’s spring quarter begins. Seattle University’s law school has suspended in-person classes and exams through March 27.

In the Big Apple, New York Law School has canceled all on-campus events through April 5 and will move to online-only classes from March 18 to April 5. Law schools at Fordham and Hofstra have also temporarily canceled in-person classes

(Updated paragraph nine to provide the latest information from Columbia University on remote class plans. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com
To contact the editor on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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