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UMass Law Spring 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

This page is current as of December 17, 2020. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

Will UMass Law's classes take place in person or online in Spring 2021?

As with last semester, all of our courses during the spring semester will be conducted remotely. Fortunately, the faculty has been preparing for this possibility. Extensive instructional resources have been made available, and faculty have been working both individually and in groups to refine remote instruction.

Can I be tested for COVID-19?

COVID-19 testing is available to all students and takes place at the main campus. To schedule a test, please visit the Health Services Portal. The portal allows you to easily schedule your weekly test. In order to be tested, students are required to complete the daily symptoms tracker as available in the Portal.

Is there a cost to be tested?

No. The testing is free.

Where can I learn more about the University's testing program?

Please the COVID-19 Testing Program website to learn more about testing dates, protocols, and testing data dashboard.

Does the university offer any resources to promote my mental health during these stressful times?

The University’s counseling services are available to all UMass Dartmouth students, including law students. We encourage students to make full use of the Counseling Center’s resources. For information, please visit https://www.umassd.edu/counseling/.

Are there other resources available for students?

UMass Law is partnering with Barbara Bowe, LICSW, of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers to provide students with additional mental health and wellness resources this academic year. Barbara is a clinician at LCL and is offering virtual assessment and referral sessions for our students once a month on the last Monday of each month.

You may sign up to schedule your confidential appointment with Barbara Bowe by clicking on the following link: https://www.lclma.org/umass-office-hours/. These sessions are confidential and free. If you have questions about these sessions or about additional resources, you can contact Barbara directly at barbarab@lclma.org.

Will the Spring 2021 academic calendar remain the same?

Yes, we have not changed our academic calendar for this semester. You may find the academic calendar at https://www.umassd.edu/law/academic-calendar/.

What if I am in a different time zone? Do I still have to follow the UMass Law schedule for in-person and synchronous classes?

Yes. However, if you will be participating from a time zone that makes your current class schedule impractical, we will work with you to modify your course enrollments to minimize the time difference to the extent possible.

Will I be able to study and participate in online classes in the Law Library?

The Law Library will be accessible via card access to students participating in the COVID-19 testing program (see above). Students must use their UMass Pass to access the building via the front door. Once inside the building, you will see that we have posted arrows that will direct you throughout the building. Everyone must wear masks while they are in the building and practice social distancing at all times.

All students accessing the library are expected to sign the sign-in sheets upon arrival. While in the library, all students must wear a mask and practice social distancing. There are cleaning supplies so students can wipe down their work area both before and after using the space. The full rules for library use are posted in the library and at various places around the law school building.

The Law Library staff has developed a plan to provide in-person access to common areas in the library and study spaces. There will be reduced seating. Tables and chairs have been arranged so as to provide a place to study within physical distancing guidelines and to comply with health and safety guidelines. You can see the safety measures in place in the library by watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC40IW0hGBc.

We will continue this access for as long as it is supported by public health guidance and permitted by law.

Will I be able to access materials in the Law Library?

Yes, the Law Library has developed a plan to provide access to library materials for any students who are not using the library in person. We can provide you with documents by email or arrange for curbside pickup of books from the library's circulating collection. We are working on using TWEN for course reserves. All of our virtual library activity must, of course, conform to copyright restrictions. The Law Library will be also be providing document delivery services to make best use of our class reserves collection. Students can request a class reading by sending an email to lawlib@umassd.edu. The requested reading will then be scanned and emailed to the student. Students should contact the law library staff with any questions or concerns at: by phone 508-985-1121, email lawlib@umassd.edu, or text at 508-507-2555.

What will the attendance policy be for the Spring 2021 semester?

The attendance policy appears in Section 4 of the Student Handbook and remains in effect. Each professor has discretion to allow additional absences depending on the individual student’s circumstances, and faculty members have been encouraged to be flexible in connection with absences related to COVID-19. 

How will I pick up textbooks and course materials?

Materials purchased through the campus bookstore website can be shipped to your home. Visit the bookstore website for shipping details. In addition, many course materials are available digitally or may be shipped directly from websites such as Amazon.com. Professors who distribute materials to in-person classes will make those materials available digitally to any students who are participating remotely.

What if I don’t have a reliable computer or internet access?

The Federal Government has authorized CARES Act funds specifically to assist college and university students with COVID-19 related expenses, including assisting eligible students who must purchase remote-learning technology. Eligibility is limited, and the application process may not be finalized until later in the summer. 

How will midterm and final exams be proctored in Spring 2021? 

Timed exams, including both midterm and final exams, will be administered online using a remote proctoring service offered through the ExamSoft platform that we have used for many years to administer in-class exams on student laptops. The remote proctoring service works with your laptop webcam and microphone. This is the same system used for proctored exams last semester. We will distribute remote proctoring instructions and information early in the spring semester.

What will the grading policy be for Spring 2021?

The faculty’s vote to impose a mandatory credit/no credit grading system applied only to Spring 2020. The standard grading policy resumed in Summer 2020 and remains in effect.

How can I access the academic success resources, including Professor Vaughan-Thomas, the academic fellows, and the materials in the Law Learning Center?

Individual and small group meetings with Professor Vaughan-Thomas or an Academic Fellow will be held by Zoom or by telephone. If Professor Vaughan-Thomas does not have availability, Professor Flanagan also sees students who need academic assistance. There will be limited access to the Law Learning Center by appointment so that students participating in the COVID-19 testing program (see above) can browse and check out print resources.

Will clinics and field placements still run in Spring 2021?

Yes. The seminar portions of those courses will be online, and depending on the clinic or placement, students may need to work remotely for some or all of their hours. For details, please reach out to the professor teaching your clinic or to Professor Drew, Director of Experiential Learning (margaret.drew@umassd.edu).

If I am studying online this semester, can I do a Field Placement near where I am living?

Yes, Yes, assuming you meet other field placement prerequisites. For details, please reach out to Professor Drew, Director of Experiential Learning (margaret.drew@umassd.edu).

What is UMass Law doing to foster student life in Spring 2021?

While the spring semester at UMass Law will not look like semesters that we will be able to have in the future after the pandemic has passed, we will continue to focus on student engagement in our co-curricular offerings to foster a sense of community and support for all students. Technology will allow the Student Bar Association and student organizations to connect with each other and with the student body on Zoom or other platforms. The SBA has been working this year to offer a meaningful student life experience and they will continue to focus their efforts in this area. In addition, student organizations have hosted many social and non-academic events and will continue to do so in the spring. The SBA will continue to send their weekly "What's Happening at UMass Law" every Monday that contains all of the events and other happenings that law students can participate in virtually.

My circumstances have changed since I filed my FAFSA. Can I receive more aid?

Please reach out to Sandra Leger Silva (508.985.1112 or sandra.leger.silva@umassd.edu) if you are experiencing a financial hardship. We’ll do our best to connect you with all available resources.

Are there any other sources of funding for students impacted by the pandemic?

The Federal Government has authorized CARES Act funds specifically to assist college and university students with COVID-19 related expenses. Eligibility is limited. For information and the application process, please visit https://www.umassd.edu/cares-act-funding-for-students/.

Will UMass Law be reducing its tuition for Spring 2021?

Tuition and fees are set by the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees voted this summer to freeze 2020-2021 tuition at the same level as 2019-2020.

Doesn’t blended or online education cost less than in-person education?

Continuing our educational programs amid the COVID-19 public health emergency is more expensive, not less. This is the case whether the mode of instruction is fully in person, blended, or fully online. Health and safety measures require additional labor, equipment, and supplies. Additional technology expenditures are necessary to facilitate blended learning and to allow students to participate remotely in in-person classes when necessary. And the University continues to pay the faculty and staff providing the instruction and student services.

What is the University doing to protect the health and safety of individuals on-campus?

Please visit the Health & Safety Guidance website to learn about new policies and procedures related to testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation.

If I don’t move to the Dartmouth area for the Fall, will I be able to live on campus if UMass Law classes are offered in person in Spring 2021?

It is far too early to say whether public health and safety concerns will allow us to be fully or partially in-person in Spring 2021. If a return to campus is possible, we will make every effort to offer on campus housing to students who wish to live on campus. However, we cannot predict at this point what will be possible.

I am already in or have plans to travel to the United States to study at UMass Law. How will taking online courses affect my visa?

UMass Law is committed to working one-on-one with every international student to modify their schedule to maximize their visa eligibility. International students should direct all questions to UMass Dartmouth’s International Programs Office (intl_programs@umassd.edu or 508.910.6506).

Additional Info

Further comprehensive information about the University's COVID-19 response is available on UMass Dartmouth's Returning to Campus page.