Update Number 39 - May 11, 2020

Message to Returning Common Law Students re Fall 2020 Semester

Dear All Returning Students:

I am writing to update you on our plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have all been affected by this unprecedented public health crisis. For most of us, we have never experienced anything like it.

Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17. Since that date, universities have only been allowed to operate remotely. Due to the incredible efforts of our professors and staff, we successfully completed the Winter 2020 term and administered exams. Students will receive credit for their courses and our 3Ls will graduate on time.   

We face an uncertain future. We do not know how long restrictions put in place by the Government of Ontario will last. The Government of Ontario has announced a framework for reopening the province but not a timetable. The Premier and many others have said that large public gatherings will be restricted for the foreseeable future. It is hard to imagine a scenario where all or most of our students will be allowed to return to the classroom in September.  

I want to emphasize this point: Our top priority has been and continues to be the health and safety of our students, professors, and staff.

We will meet this priority, while maintaining the quality of our academic programs and the university experience. 

We are therefore announcing that the Fall 2020 semester at the Common Law Section will be available via distance and online learning.  T

his applies to all years of study in the Common Law Section. Students in joint programs will need to follow the rules that apply in other faculties or universities for courses outside the Common Law Section.

Our Faculty is committed to delivering high-quality legal education that prioritizes the student experience. We also understand the importance of community. We do not waver from this commitment and we are already hard at work preparing for the Fall. We will be developing opportunities for students to come together at a distance and also, if permitted, in person.  

However, there will be no requirement for any student to be physically present at the law school in Ottawa for the Fall 2020 semester. It is too early to make decisions regarding our January and Winter 2021 terms.

We know that your lives are filled with uncertainty right now. We felt it was necessary to provide clarity for the Fall 2020 so that we can all plan accordingly, and do our best to make lemonade out of lemons.

Many of you will have questions, please consult these FAQs and if you have additional questions you can contact Assistant Dean Rachel Leck at Rachel.Leck@uottawa.ca.   We will continue to be in frequent contact and provide as much information to you as are able.

We look forward to welcoming you back and now more than ever we will rely on you to support each other.
In the meantime, we wish you well for the summer months, and hope that the curve continues to flatten.

Dean Adam Dodek

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