Stay home, get boosted, law schools tell students during new virus phase

2 minute read

REUTERS/Idris Solomon

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Online lessons next semester at Harvard, Stanford, NYU, UCLA
  • Some law schools to require COVID-19 boosters for students and employees when they return

(Reuters) - It’s back to remote learning for some law schools—at least temporarily.

A growing number of universities in recent days have announced they're reverting to online classes for the first several weeks of January in hopes of minimizing the spread of COVID-19, which has surged in many places with the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Harvard Law School; Stanford Law School; New York University School of Law; the University of California at Los Angeles; the University of Illinois College of Law; Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; and the University of California, Irvine School of Law are among those that will begin the semester online, with plans to shift to in-person instruction later in January or at the start of February.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

In addition some universities, including NYU, Northwestern and UCLA, are requiring all eligible students to have received a COVID-19 booster shot before coming back on campus.

In a Monday email to students, Northwestern law dean Hari Osofsky informed students that they will also be required to take an at-home COVID-19 test and submit the results before they return to campus.

At Harvard Law, there will be no organized, in-person activities or events during the January remote period, dean John Manning told students in a Dec. 18 message.

"Especially after our community was able to reconnect in-person during a terrific fall semester, we know that returning to remote learning, however briefly, will come as a disappointment to many, and that it will disrupt plans and lives," Manning wrote.

Law school admissions consultant Mike Spivey predicted this week that more colleges and universities will move online for the start of the spring semester.

“In respect to law schools, every law school is not just monitoring the data, but likely what other law schools are doing,” Spivey wrote in a blog post this week. “So if one law school decides to go remote for a period of time we would expect a number of others to follow.”

But unlike in March 2020, when law schools abruptly shifted to online classes in response to the first wave of the pandemic, schools now have lots of experience with remote teaching. At least three law schools quickly pivoted to online finals this month due to COVID-19 surges on campus.

Read more:

Law schools move exams online, citing fresh virus fears

For most law students, remote classes didn't make the grade - report

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at karen.sloan@thomsonreuters.com