From: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
To: Berkeley Law community
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2020
Dear Law School Community,
We continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and to make plans for various contingencies. Our paramount goal, in these extraordinary circumstances, is to protect the health of our students, staff, and faculty. Based on all we have learned, there is not a basis at this time for canceling classes or law school activities. But we also realize that some, especially those at higher risk, are very concerned about the possibility of being exposed to the virus. It is important that all in our community feel as safe as possible under the circumstances. Therefore, in consultation with the Preparedness Committee, I have decided to implement the following policy:
- We will continue to hold classes and other events until advised otherwise.
- We will record/Zoom all classes to the extent we have the capacity to do so. Unfortunately, not all of our rooms have the technology to do this. We are working to develop this capacity where we don’t have it. Our IT/Instructional Services staff will work with individual professors to devise the best instructional approach for each class. We are immediately embarking to train all instructors in the use of Zoom, which will allow them to reach their students remotely. Classes will continue to meet as this capacity is being developed.
- Although students are strongly encouraged to attend classes, in-person attendance requirements will be suspended whenever possible. We, of course, do not want students to feel any pressure to come to school if they are feeling ill or in a high risk category. I recognize that law school classes are inherently interactive and something is lost when teaching is by distance learning. But under these extraordinary circumstances, I ask every professor to be flexible with regard to attendance requirements.
- Professors should create some capacity during office hours to be available by phone or some other technology, such as Zoom.
I hope that everyone will be patient as we implement this. The situation is unprecedented and poses many challenges for all involved. I also am asking our Preparedness Committee to continue to work to closely monitor the situation and to develop plans to do all we can to protect the health of those in our community. This is a time when I know that our wonderful community will work together to support and assist each other.