A Careful Preparation for Reopening

Elon University School of Law reopened in August with new policies that promote a safe and healthy environment for teaching and learning. From limits on classroom capacity to requirements for protected personal interactions, keeping our community healthy from COVID-19 requires a commitment to practices that are well known and well proven at reducing the risk of viral transmission.

Elon University’s Ready & Resilient Plan for 2020-21 outlines many protocols that apply to Elon Law. Additional practices specific to our downtown Greensboro campus are below and are subject to change based on evolving public health conditions and government regulations.

Keeping Our Community Well (Operations)

Elon Law’s top priority is to keep students, faculty, staff and building visitors safe and healthy. Highlights of our new protocols include:

  • Cloth face coverings must be worn by all students, faculty and students throughout the law school building, including classrooms (with the exception of a faculty or staff member’s private office). A limited exception is for very brief periods of time while eating, and only in the upstairs Cemala Foundation Commons. Mask wearing is otherwise required with no drinking or eating in classrooms.
  • Additional cleaning procedures, hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting applications foster a safe learning environment and minimize the risk of viral transmission on surfaces
  • Classrooms and other spaces have been configured to promote physical distancing with signage and floor markers to remind the community of appropriate distancing
  • University facilities personnel are ensuring that building HVAC systems are operating at their maximum possible design ventilation
  • Several events traditionally held in the fall (the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition and the Elon Law Review Symposium) will be held virtually while other events (the Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series) has been paused until 2021-22
Keeping Our Students on Track to Graduate in 2.5 Years (Learning)

Elon Law’s preparations for reopening reflect a commitment to graduate students in 2.5 years by amending the Fall Trimester academic calendar and designing courses that offer maximum flexibility for both students and professors.

  • Elon Law is moving forward with plans to offer in-person instruction for both the 2020 August term and Fall Trimester
  • Professors are creating syllabi that blend in-person learning with remote instruction (some classes with larger enrollments will be delivered with a combination of in-person and synchronous online instruction to decrease the number of students physically present at any one time in a classroom)
  • Fall Trimester classes end by November 20 (the Friday before Thanksgiving) and all exams will be administered remotely so that students do not return to campus after Thanksgiving. Classes are now scheduled for Labor Day and over Fall Break.
  • Students who are unable to attend in person due to health conditions may seek accommodations through Elon University’s Office of Disabilities Services. If an accommodation from in-person attendance is allowed, then students will attend synchronously online
Keeping Our Focus on Recruitment (Admissions)

Elon Law’s Admissions Office is beginning to actively recruit the entering class enrolling in August 2021 and looks forward to meeting prospective students. More information about the application process can be found on the law school’s admissions website.

  • The admissions cycle for the Class of 2023 begins on September 1, 2020
  • Prospective students can schedule campus visits and tours
  • Online chats for prospective students will be hosted throughout the fall
  • Applicant interviews (by invitation) as part of Elon Law’s admissions process start in November when the Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications

Online Resources

Local, state, and national agencies and organizations collect data relevant to COVID-19 confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries.

Frequently Asked Questions about Elon Law and COVID-19

Is Elon Law teaching students in person for Fall Trimester?

Yes. The Fall Trimester is offered through in-person instruction in classrooms configured to support physical distancing.

Professors created syllabi that blend in-person learning with remote instruction. Some classes with larger enrollments are delivered with a combination of in-person and synchronous online instruction to decrease the number of students physically present at any one time in a classroom. Our goal is for students to receive at least half of their instruction in person. Some courses with smaller enrollments may have all class sessions in person.

Will I be required to take a COVID-19 test before attending class for the August term and Fall Trimester?

All students, faculty and staff must complete a PCR COVID-19 pre-semester test before classes begin as well as participate in ongoing random testing throughout the semester. The university is using a simple, do-it-yourself, nasal swab PCR test designed by LabCorp which can be shipped to and from any location in the country no matter local testing availability.  The Ready & Resilient web site provides more information and a testing portal for requesting a PCR test.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use the LabCorp system because of its convenience, consistent results and its ability to comply with HIPAA privacy standards and share secure healthcare information with Elon’s Health Services. However, we realize there may be special cases where students are unable to use the LabCorp system. For example, international students will not be able receive test collection kits from LabCorp. Students who are unable or unwilling to use the LabCorp test and wish to pay for asymptomatic testing out of pocket need to follow the steps below to submit an approved PCR test result from another testing source that was collected within Elon’s prescribed testing window.

Who pays for the COVID-19 testing?

By using LabCorp’s mail-in testing service, students and families will not have to pay upfront for the pre-semester test. Currently, asymptomatic tests cost upward of $100.

Students will be billed $129 for the pre-semester test.

  • After receiving test results, students will be able to print relevant documents for submission to their own health insurance to request reimbursement.
  • In early September, students/families with financial challenges will be able to apply for a fee waiver.
  • The $129 test fee will not be added to student accounts with the Bursar until after these insurance materials are available or students have been able to request a fee-waiver.
  • The university is also working with other private universities to request support from Congress to cover the cost of pre-semester testing.

If a student utilizes alternate testing, they will be responsible for the upfront costs of those tests. The university will not reimburse costs for these alternate tests.

Will Elon University and Elon Law continue COVID-19 testing during the academic year?

Yes. In order to monitor the ongoing health of the school community, the university community will participate weekly in ongoing and random testing throughout the semester. Elon will test students, faculty and staff weekly during the semester per three methods:

  • Random selection of students, faculty and staff who are potential contacts of someone who has presented with symptoms and warranted isolation.
  • Random selection of students, faculty and staff who have not been exposed to a sick individual but who may participate in higher risk groups or in classes, organizations or residential areas where cases have occurred
  • Random selection of students, faculty and staff from across the main and Greensboro campus (based on a stratified simple random sampling model with proportional allocations from campus buildings as well as student or employee status).

Elon University is finalizing plans for a safe, physically distanced testing clinic to occur weekly on campus. Faculty and staff will also have the option to use mail-in testing instead of the in-person clinic. Random/ongoing testing for students, faculty, and staff will be paid for by the university. Testing data will be utilized as part of ongoing analysis of alert levels in our operational decision-making matrix. We are also using the simple, nasal swab PCR test designed by LabCorp for the random/ongoing testing.

After taking the COVID test, will students be required to self-quarantine?

Students may not return to campus until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. If a student receives a positive test result, the Elon web site provides information about next steps.

What other training and steps will I need to take before returning to campus?

Before students return to campus, they will need to complete training modules, read certain statements and execute the Healthy Elon Commitment.

What happens if a student, faculty or staff member tests positive during the academic year?

As explained on the Elon University website, all students, faculty and staff who report COVID-19 symptoms or who are exposed to the virus must follow testing, contact tracing and quarantine protocols. The process will largely apply to the law school, which will rely on the Guilford County Health Department, rather than the Alamance County Health Department.

 

How will Elon University and Elon Law keep track of COVID-19 test results?

Elon University utilizes a testing portal that is accessible by university and law school administration, which allows the tracking of which students, faculty and staff have completed the COVID-19 testing and the other Healthy Elon Commitment items (training modules and commitment).

What precautions are being taken inside Elon Law facilities to minimize the risk of infection?

Classrooms and other spaces are configured to promote physical distancing. Elon Law developed room-specific capacity restrictions and seating/floor plans for every classroom, as well as the Elon Law Library and commons areas. Signage and floor markers remind the community of the appropriate distancing and other behaviors conducive to good health.

Additional cleaning procedures, hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting applications help foster a safe learning environment and minimize the risk of viral transmission on surfaces. Cleaning practices follow CDC guidelines and include the use of EPA-approved products effective against viruses and bacteria, including hospital-grade disinfectant. Frequent cleaning and extra attention is paid to communal and “high touch” areas, such as door handles, stair handrails, elevator buttons and bathrooms.

Each classroom is equipped with a sanitation station. Supplies will be provided for students and faculty to clean surfaces and shared computers and equipment when they enter and leave the space. Elon Law is placing hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building.

Elon University and Elon Law are aligning their efforts with CDC guidance concerning HVAC and ventilation. University facilities personnel are monitoring building HVAC systems to ensure operation at their maximum possible design ventilation (while maintaining appropriate building humidity and comfortable temperatures). This includes increased frequency of filtration changes, and the use of the highest-rated filters possible per design in each building system.

The class schedule is being adjusted to provide additional time between class periods to reduce congestion.

Does this mean I’ll need to wear a mask inside the building?

Yes. Cloth face coverings must be worn by all students, faculty and staff throughout the law school building, including classrooms (with the exception of a faculty or staff member’s private office). This includes classrooms, public restrooms, open office and common spaces, hallways, meeting rooms, libraries, theaters and other indoor spaces. Face coverings are also required outdoors when six-foot physical distancing cannot be maintained. Employees may remove face coverings when alone in their own offices or enclosed workspaces. Students, faculty, and staff who enter facilities without a face covering will be asked to leave. Elon Law has provided a face mask to all students, faculty and staff.

A limited exception to this rule is for very brief periods of time while eating, and only in the upstairs Cemala Foundation Commons. Mask wearing is otherwise required with no drinking or eating in classrooms.

Will there be a shortened semester to reduce the possibility of an outbreak on campus?

The academic calendar for the Fall Trimester has been revised to end classes by November 20 (the Friday before Thanksgiving) and to administer all exams remotely so that students do not return to campus after Thanksgiving. Classes are now  scheduled over Labor Day and Fall Break to allow for this earlier finish to the Fall Trimester and to reduce the opportunities for travel over breaks where a return to campus could potentially increase the chance of viral transmission.

What if health conditions prevent me from coming to class in person?

Student unable to attend class in person due to health conditions may seek accommodations through Elon University’s Office of Disabilities Services. If an accommodation from in-person attendance is allowed, students will attend synchronously online. Classes will also be recorded to permit participation by students who are unable to attend either in-person or synchronously online.

All courses will be designed and taught in ways that allow students who must be quarantined or who must shift to fully remote learning to continue to complete the course. Faculty will communicate with students throughout the quarantine or remote learning period to ensure students understand the expectations of and resources available to the students.

Will I need to complete a daily health survey?

Yes. All students, faculty and staff are expected to complete their own daily self-checkup to help monitor their own health. This self-checkup and its questions are detailed here. 

What should I do if I become ill? If a student tests positive for COVID-19, what are the requirements to be allowed back on campus?

All Elon Law students, faculty and staff who report COVID-19 symptoms or who are exposed to the virus must follow the testing, contact tracing and quarantine protocols established by Elon University, the Guilford County Health Department and the State of North Carolina. If you experience COVID-19 Symptoms and begin to feel ill, first refrain from direct contact with others until you consult with a healthcare provider. Students who are not in the Elon area or on campus should consult their healthcare provider or local hospital for directions if they begin to experience.

If you are ill and are advised to isolate or are referred for testing, please notify Elon Law’s Office of Student Life immediately at lawcareers@elon.edu so that we can support you and help you access available resources. Elon University’s web site provides additional information about next steps.

What happens if Elon Law needs to close again (and move instruction online) because of a “second wave”?

If necessary, Elon Law is well prepared to move instruction online. Faculty members are practiced at delivering online instruction based on their experience teaching in the 2020 Spring Trimester, and they have benefited from workshops, trainings and resources from the instructional technologists in the law school and from Elon University’s Teaching and Learning Technologies, the Center for Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and other departments. Professors have been outfitted with the equipment necessary to effectively deliver online instruction. Clinics and externships are also prepared to continue even if modifications for remote work experiences are necessary due to potential closures of courts, government offices, or other placements.

Is there a process for students to request to engage exclusively in remote/online instruction?

Most students, particularly 1Ls, have expressed a desire to be in person this fall. However, some students may have health-related reasons (ADA and CDC COVID-19 High-Risk) to seek an accommodation to engage exclusively in remote/online instruction. Those students may make a request for an accommodation through the Office of Disabilities Resources. When an accommodation has been approved, the Office of Disabilities Resources will notify the student and the law school administration.

Elon Law 2L and 3L students have received emails about other potential modifications to their class format. Students with questions may contact Ms. Stacie Dooley, Director of Student Life, at sdooley3@elon.edu.

If students elect to be online, will they still have access to school facilities (assuming they have taken a COVID test)?

To reduce the number of people in the building, we encourage those taking classes online to come to the building as little as possible, though students with a negative COVID-19 test and who have completed the health check-in (testing, training and commitment) will be allowed access.

If a student elects for in-person classes, is he later able to choose online instruction? Or is a decision permanent once classes start?

Students are encouraged to make their election now. Doing so helps us identify class sizes, room assignments and faculty planning for courses. However, a student taking in-person classes can apply later in the term to take all of her classes remotely, and vice versa. The latter request could potentially be more problematic if a class is assigned to a room based on online enrollment and therefore could not accommodate more in-person students.

Would a move to online instruction change tuition?

No. Because instruction would continue online, and law school services would continue to be provided to students, tuition would not be reduced. The various law school departments, including the Elon Law Library, the Office of Career & Student Development, the Office of Academic Success and the Registrar’s Office, will continue to serve students online at the same high level as they would in person.

If a student elects to be online, does she still need to undergo COVID testing?

If a student does not plan to come back to campus in the fall, that student does not need to be tested. However, if a student envisions using the library or other facilities, or visiting the school for any reason, he or she should do the testing to be cleared.

Is the Elon Law Library open?

Yes. The Law Library has opened to students with hours posted on its web page. The library is observing the same precautions in place for all other Elon Law facilities, as well as library best practices, including precautions related to checking out and sanitizing materials.

Will students have access to the Elon Law Library and commons area between classes?

Yes. The seating in the library and the Cemala Foundation Commons is reduced to allow for social distancing.

Will 3Ls have access to the Elon Law Library and other school facilities for bar prep?

We intend to allow 3Ls to access the library and other school facilities to study for the bar exam. The exact timing and details are yet to be determined and will be communicated over the Fall Trimester.

What is my personal responsibility while at Elon Law’s facilities?

As a matter of professional responsibility and obligation to themselves and others in the community, students, faculty and staff will be expected to abide by all safety and health protocols adopted by Elon University and Elon Law. This includes wearing a face mask in all law school facilities, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and following protocols with regard to personal hygiene. These expected practices are detailed here.

Elon Law will consider compliance with these health protocols and processes as professional expectations imposing professional obligations within the community, including those required by the Elon Law Student Personal & Professional Responsibility Policy, Student Handbook and Honor Code.

Will the public have access to Elon Law facilities?

Generally, the public will not have access to the main law school building (the Weaver Building) or satellite locations. The exceptions will be those attorneys and members of the public who have appointments to visit the library, those with proceedings before the North Carolina Business Court, prospective students who have appointments with the Admissions Office, clients who have appointments with the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic or Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic, or those who have appointments with law school administration, faculty or staff. All visitors to the building will be required to follow all safety protocols, including wearing masks and observing social distancing.

What is the protocol for visiting Elon Law facilities in the Lincoln Financial Building?

Everyone entering the Lincoln Financial facility must wear a face mask, and each entrant must complete a Lincoln Financial COVID-19 visitor form. The completed form (good for two weeks, at which time another form will need to be completed) should be submitted at the security desk in the Lincoln Financial lobby.

We advise students, faculty and staff to complete the form before entering the Lincoln Financial building to save time and congestion in the lobby. In addition to a PDF of the form linked above, copies are available at the Elon Law security desk, the Registrar’s Office and at the security desk in the Lincoln Financial building.

The B106 classroom has a sanitization station like all Elon Law classrooms. In addition, Lincoln Financial has installed a hand sanitizer station in the lobby. Custodial staff members clean the building each evening and visit during the day to clean frequently touched surfaces like door handles.

Is there technology or software that students should plan to purchase in the event of online instruction?

Elon Law has issued technology requirements for both the Class of 2022 and for returning students to be properly equipped to participate in their classes and other activities at the law school.

What Elon Law programs and events have been canceled or postponed because of these changes?

Postponed/cancelled in-person Elon Law programs include the Joseph M. Bryan Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series and Family & Friends Weekend. Some programs currently scheduled as in-person events are now being planned for remote delivery, including the Elon Law Review Symposium. Other programs remain on the calendar with no decision on whether they will occur in person, be moved to early 2021, or be held online. These programs include the 2020 Leadership in the Law Award presentation in coordination with North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and the Fall 2020 Advisory Board Meeting.

Are student groups able to host events or travel for co-curricular programs?

Student groups are encouraged to meet virtually. The law school is not scheduling room reservations for the Fall Trimester in the interest of protecting the safety and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff. Prohibitions are also in place for non-essential travel, including that for student groups who would use Elon Law funding to cover their expenses.

Will Elon Law host its annual Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition? Will the school’s Moot Court Program compete in national competitions?

We are hosting the fall 2020 Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition in October as a virtual competition. More information about the competition is available on the Competition web page. As most autumn competitions transition online, Elon Law’s Moot Court Program plans to compete in several virtual events.

How will this affect Commencement for the Class of 2020?

Plans for Commencement 2020 are taking shape with staff from Elon Law and the Office of Cultural and Special Programs identifying best practices for social distancing and the use of PPE  (face masks and hand sanitizer) at venues on Elon University’s main campus. More information will be shared with the Class of 2020 in the fall.

What should I know about the admissions process if I’m applying to Elon Law for the Class of 2023?

Applications open on September 1, 2020, for admission to Elon Law’s Class of 2023. Admissions staff look forward to assisting you throughout the admissions process. Prospective students may contact the Admissions Office via email (lawadmissions@elon.edu) or phone (1-888-ELON-LAW or 336-279-9229). Campus visits and tours of the law school can be arranged by contacting the Admissions Office. Admissions events, such as open houses and online chats, will be scheduled later in the fall and will likely be offered in an online or hybrid format. The Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications in November. Elon Law will continue to conduct applicant interviews by invitation as part of its admissions process. These interviews will likely be held by phone or videoconference. More information will be available on the Admissions web page.

Is Legal Grounds open?

Yes. Legal Grounds is open for students and employees in the upstairs Commons.