A Careful Preparation for Reopening in August 2020

Elon University School of Law plans to reopen 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)
  • 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 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.
  • Student who are unable to attend in person due to health conditions may seek accommodations through Elon University’s Office of Disability 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 continues to actively recruit the entering class enrolling in August 2020, and it looks forward to soon meeting prospective students for the entering class of fall 2021. 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

Will Elon Law teach students in person for the August and Fall Trimester terms?

Yes. The August term and Fall Trimester are being offered through in-person instruction in classrooms configured to support physical distancing. The Fall Trimester begins August 31. Students will receive their specific class schedules later this summer, but generally, students should plan to be available for in-person classes and activities throughout the fall from roughly 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some upper-level electives offered in the evening as in the past.

Professors are creating syllabi that will 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. 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. Students will receive their detailed class schedules in mid to late July.

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

All Elon Law students, faculty and staff will be tested. Students, faculty and staff should not report to campus if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, please isolate, seek medical consultation and follow provider recommendations prior to coming to campus.

Will students be asked to continue testing throughout the term or will temperature checks be given upon entry into the building?

Per the Elon Ready & Resilient plan, all students, faculty and staff must complete a PCR COVID-19 pre-semester test before the start of classes. They also must participate in ongoing random testing throughout the semester. More information about the random testing is available here.

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.

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).

Will Elon Law’s New Student Orientation be in person in August?

Yes. Orientation for entering first-year students is August 4-7, 2020, followed by the August Term. Orientation, the August term and Fall Trimester are designed to keep our community healthy and comply with COVID-19 guidelines and directives from state and local government while providing our distinctive program of legal education.

Orientation includes significant in-person sessions accomplished with staggered schedules. This allows smaller group meetings with social distancing complemented by online programming.

Students should plan to be available for in-person classes and activities from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, from August 4-28, though they will not be in class all day, every day.

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 will provide a face mask to all students (new and returning), faculty and staff later this summer.

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.

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.

Will the Elon Law Library be open?

Yes. Beginning on August 4, the Law Library opens to students for the August Term and Fall Trimester 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.

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.

Will student groups be 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 in October? Will the school’s Moot Court Program compete in national competitions?

We intend to host the fall 2020 Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition in October as a virtual competition. More information about the competition will be posted 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 early 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.

Will Legal Grounds be open?

Legal Grounds anticipates opening, though the details regarding its operating schedule and offerings have not yet been determined by Campus Dining.