From: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
To: Berkeley Law community
Date: Thursday, March 12, 2020
Dear Berkeley Law Community,
continue to be truly amazed at how quickly we have shifted to distance learning and the constant patience and good cheer of our faculty, staff, and students. My enormous gratitude to everyone for working so hard to adapt under these difficult circumstances.
Understandably, I am constantly getting questions about future plans. In addition to all of the other obvious sources of anxiety, uncertainty as to the what is going to happen in the Law School and on campus certainly contributes to stress. Many of the most important decisions are made by the Chancellor and Provost for the entire campus, based on the best possible public health information. I will alert you of anything I learn. But I thought it would be helpful to clarify some things as to the Law School’s policies to reduce uncertainty a bit.
Although we, of course, hope that there will be a point at which we can resume in person classes this semester, that remains uncertain. We recognize that in-person participation may be impossible for some students because of health concerns or travel restrictions. In light of the situation, we have decided that even if in-person classes resume, instructors will be required to allow any student to participate remotely if the student chooses to do so. Likewise, faculty have the option to teach remotely for the remainder of the semester. Because of this, all exams – mid-terms and finals – will need to be take-home exams.
Also, to facilitate planning, we are cancelling all Law School events at least through Friday, April 3 (through the first week after spring break). Obviously, we may need to cancel events beyond that, but hopefully making this decision for the next three weeks will help with planning.
Finally, out of health concerns for all involved, we are suspending all Law School travel to other states and other countries through April 3. If this creates an undue hardship for anyone, I would be glad to discuss this. But I know that the uncertainty about this has been a problem and the wisest course right now seems to be suspending travel for this period of time.
I know we all hope that there will be a time soon when we can resume our normal activities. In the meantime, I hope we all can take care and comfort from this wonderful community. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.