Dean of Students' Statement of August 5, 2020

Dear Members of the Class of 2021 and 2022,

Greetings from Ithaca! I hope you and your families are safe and well. I know many of you are grappling with the effects of this pandemic and the uncertainty it brings even as you prepare to return to classes, whether online or in-person. The student services team and I are grateful for your graciousness and patience during this evolving situation. Please take note and thoroughly review  the following important announcements concerning the pre-registration process and the use of bid points. Also, stay tuned for a separate message about what to expect this semester once classes begin.

In-Person vs. Online Election. Thanks for so promptly completing the survey regarding fall enrollment. Your preference of online or in-person instruction applies to all courses in which you enroll. A virtual option is available for each course unless otherwise noted. As such, whether studying online or in-person, you will be able to access the full law school curriculum. If you elected online instruction, your professors will not expect to see you in the classroom for any course. If you elected in-person instruction, your attendance will be driven by the course modality as noted on the course schedule. It is likely that students electing in-person instruction will have a mix of both in-person and online courses. 

Scheduling Ithaca Arrival for In-Person Instruction. Students who have elected in-person instruction are expected to arrive in Ithaca in sufficient time to complete any required quarantine and other public health requirements, including testing, by the time classes begin on Tuesday, August 25th. Keep in mind that required testing is driven by your arrival date in Ithaca and plan accordingly. All law students should familiarize themselves with Cornell University and New York State quarantine requirements. 

Course Modality. Regardless of the modality, ABA rules prohibit enrollment in conflicting scheduled courses. A description of each modality follows.  Online courses will be offered online only, via Zoom. Links to your Zoom room may be found on your student schedule. Upperclassstudents are required to attend and participate synchronously if the class falls between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM in the time zone where you are located. Outside those hours, you may choose to participate either synchronously or asynchronously.

Any law course being offered this fall with an in-person meeting room and time will be delivered in a hybrid format. Students who have elected online instruction will participate in the course remotely. Students who have elected in-person instruction will attend the class in the law school building. At the faculty member’s discretion, students who elect in-person instruction may be assigned to rotate into the classroom throughout the semester. Hybrid courses may contain both synchronous and asynchronous elements.  

Asynchronous courses are those that are not offered at a pre-scheduled time. These courses consist of pre-recorded lectures and exercises that students complete in a self-scheduled format by the deadlines the professor imposes. There are some synchronous components such as Zoom office hours.

Enrollment Capacity. Due to social distancing guidelines, classroom capacities have been decreased significantly to ensure the health and safety of faculty and students. With the exception of 1L courses, seminars, clinics and limited enrollment courses, most fall offerings will have larger than normal enrollment capacities. Some students opting for in-person instruction who enroll in hybrid courses may be assigned to attend based on a rotation system, the details and specifics of which to be determined by the faculty teaching the course. Notes regarding modality can be found on the course schedule, updates are being made to course catalog.

Bid Point Allocation Guidance. With the course capacities in mind, we encourage you to prioritize your bid points for limited enrollment courses as the online sections permit more students to enroll in a course than would otherwise be feasible in the physical classroom in prior years.

Course Selection Advising Sessions. Amanda Jantzi, Director of Student Services and Advising, will be hosting academic advising Q&A sessions on Thursday, August 6th from 8:30AM-9:30AM; and, on Friday, August 7th from 3:30PM-4:30PM. If you are unable to attend and need personalized course selection advising, please make an appointment with Amanda Jantzi here and select “Degree Progress”  

I hope this guidance is helpful to you as you begin the pre-registration process.

Stay safe and be well, 

MJM 

Markeisha J. Miner, JD

Dean of Students

Cornell Law School