Updated Plan, University Directives, COVID Update

July 29, 2020

Dear Students,

As we communicated with you Monday, in light of the Provost’s “Staged Launch” announcement, we are adjusting our plans for a staged start to the semester. On August 17, the College of Law will open the semester with the vast majority of classes being held fully online. (Please see yesterday’s email for full details.)    

We understand that this is a very stressful time for each of you, and that frequent university status changes makes planning all the more difficult. We are making every effort to keep you as informed as possible and to anticipate and respond quickly, compassionately, and effectively to your needs and concerns.  

To that end, please keep an eye on your email for a survey in the next few days that will ask you about your fall class plans and internet/technology needs. We’re asking every student to complete this survey in order to help us better prepare for the semester.

Throughout this process, we have worked diligently to remain dynamic, respect the latest science, and plan for multiple scenarios, including this one. While this approach does bring with it some uncertainties, it also means that our faculty and staff are prepared to pivot and adapt to deliver the best possible outcomes in a given scenario, even a less than ideal one.

We know that change and uncertainty are not easy for anyone! We are nevertheless calling upon our collective insight and fortitude to remain resilient and nimble. 

Above all, we need to continue supporting each other. You are not alone. Let us remain ready to adapt as needed for the long run -- not just for today or next month.  

We will of course keep you informed of new developments and information as we receive it. 

In this note, we share:

(1) our updated Plan for a New Safe Return to Campus; 

(2) where to find the most recent University directives for fall; 

(3) updated guidance from ICE for international students

(4) grading update for the fall semester; and

(5) the current COVID situation in Tucson. 

As always, please continue to submit questions, concerns, and suggestions to our Student Suggestion Box. Check law.arizona.edu/covid for updates, and refer to our extensive FAQ for Current Students and Incoming Students for answers to many of the questions we’ve received from you. We update it frequently.

  1.       College of Law Plan for a New Safe Return:

You can read the College of Law’s updated (and still evolving) Plan for a New Safe Return here or this easy-to-navigate New Safe Return Guide. You can always find the most recent version of our evolving plan on the College of Law COVID homepage: law.arizona.edu/covid

The Plan was updated prior to the Provost’s announcement yesterday, so we will need to further adjust to align with these developments. In the meantime, the Plan still applies to those who will be entering the College of Law campus during Stage 1.

There are several significant differences from the previous version of the Plan including:

  • Updated details of the voluntary COVID research study for the College of Law;
  • Elimination of requirement for antibody testing before returning to campus (the latest science indicates this is no longer a factor in creating a safer campus);
  • Updated information on class modalities (which we have shared in previous emails);
  • New procedures around cleaning and disinfecting; and 
  • Revised library plans, including additional seating and services. 

The University is continuing to update their directives and guidance, so we will continue to update ours as well. The New Safe Return Guide will be your source for the most recent details, and we will continue to notify the College of Law community of substantive changes. You can always access the Plan on the College of Law COVID homepage: law.arizona.edu/covid

We are acutely aware that COVID has exacerbated disparate treatment to vulnerable members of our community, and we do not want the Plan to contribute further to those experiencing challenges and hardships. The sole purpose of the Plan is to keep us all safe while we are on and off campus. 

As such, the Plan anticipates exceptions to the rules in order to ensure equitable opportunities for all of our students to be successful. We cannot guarantee that every exception will be granted, but we encourage you to contact Dean Jordan Curtis or any member of the New Safe Return Committee (and the soon to be constituted Arizona Law COVID Task Force) to initiate a discussion. You do not need to wait for an emergency—contact us now!

Remember, there is an Emergency Fund for students who are struggling financially. There is also a UA Campus Pantry where any member of our community can pop in for free groceries. Please take advantage of these services.

  1.       University Directives:

Last week the University finalized many of their directives and converted most of them to public-facing web pages that you can access from the COVID-19 Response homepage. We are incorporating the relevant directives and links to resources in our evolving Plan

We thought you might be interested in the University’s directives and guidelines pertaining to: 

There are also extensive FAQs on a variety of topics including instruction, financial aid, parking, Campus Health, and more. 

The University updated the Guiding Principles page and added information to the Test, Trace, Treat plan as well.  

  1.       ICE Update for International Students:

On July 24th, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released its guidelines for new and returning F-1 students. The guidelines confirm that current F-1 students can remain in the United States even if they are pursuing their studies fully online. They caution that new students who intend to study fully online will likely not be issued an F-1 visa to enter the U.S. We will ensure that new F-1 students who have already arrived in the US will receive the necessary in-person instruction to meet ICE guidelines.
UA’s International Student Services (ISS) has provided more information on their website.

  1.       Grading:

As we stated previously, we were planning to return to traditional grading for fall classes as we’ve done with our summer classes. We moved to mandatory pass/fail in the spring because there was so little time to prepare for the transition and because all of the changes occurred within the middle of the semester. 

We have received many requests to move to pass/fail for the fall. We have also received many requests to return to traditional grading. Still further, we have received suggestions to let students choose between traditional grades and pass/fail. The faculty is meeting later this week to review all of the anonymous comments that have been submitted to the Student Suggestion Box and consider the best course in light of current circumstances. 

  1.       COVID & Tucson:

If you watched the University’s press briefing on Thursday, you heard cautious optimism from Pres. Robbins and Dr. Carmona as our COVID numbers and trending downward from their recent peak. They both stressed the absolute need for social distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands frequently. They warned against violating these simple and effective public health practices.  

As we do each week, we have attached the most recent report by Dr. Joe Gerald of the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Gerald’s informative and authoritative forecast models reports are shared widely among the University’s deans and administrators. Indeed, Pres. Robbins referred to this report in his press briefing. We share them with you so that you have critical information as you make decisions for yourself and your family in the days, weeks, and months ahead. This week’s report is a mix of concern and cautious optimism as viral transmission slows due to Arizonans following public health advice issued by the CDC such as wearing face coverings and social distancing. 

We look forward to bringing you more timely information next week. In the meantime, stay safe, and bear down!

Marc, Bernadette, and Teresa

on behalf of the New Safe Return Committee