VLS announces summer hybrid, fall return

By Julia Guerrein, Editor-in-Chief

Students will be welcomed back to campus on a hybrid basis this summer and fully in-person in the fall, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Photos by Julia Guerrein/The Forum.

On Monday, March 16, Vermont Law School (VLS) Interim Dean and President Beth McCormack announced that VLS will hold summer classes in a hybrid format, and that fall classes will be on campus.

“On behalf of OVAT (the One VLS Action Team), I am happy to report that barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will be reopening for the summer term 2021 on a hybrid basis. We also plan to be back to normal (or almost normal) residential operations for the fall 2021 semester (following all state Health and Safety Guidelines).”

The announcement comes almost exactly a year after VLS closed for the spring 2020 semester, which was followed by fully virtual summer and fall semesters, and a mostly virtual spring semester.

McCormack also invited the VLS community to a Town Hall on the upcoming semesters.

“This announcement raises more questions than it answers, which is why I invite you to a Town Hall meeting on Teams on Monday, March 29 from 5-6 pm to discuss. A Teams Invite will follow.”

Debevoise Hall, circa fall 2019.

McCormack’s email also included the following information regarding the summer session and fall semester:

Summer session:

  • Some classes this summer will be all virtual.
  • Some classes this summer will be residential, but students who are not living in Vermont will be able to participate remotely. In other words, you do not need to move to Vermont for the summer session or participate residentially if you don’t want to. However, class times will be in EST, which you may want to consider before registering if you are living in a different time zone.
  • A list of the residential and virtual classes will be available before registration opens.
  • Students (and faculty and staff) participating residentially will be tested weekly on campus, sign a Health Safety Contract, and follow other social-distancing guidelines.
  • Meetings (i.e., Career Services, ASP, Office Hours, student groups, etc.) will remain virtual for the summer term.
  • The Library and the Fitness Center will be open to students who are tested and sign a Health Safety Contract.
  • We are working on limited food service on campus this summer.

Fall semester:

  • We plan to be open residentially for the fall semester with operations normal or near normal (following all Health and Safety Guidelines).
  • There will likely be no virtual option for residential classes for the fall semester.
  • Of course, our Online Learning Program will continue to be online.
  • If you are not currently living in Vermont and plan to take residential classes, you should be prepared to move here before the fall semester begins (classes begin August 30 and Orientation begins August 23).
  • We have not decided on whether vaccinations (assuming they are widely available) will be required (unless there is a medical exemption) for the fall semester. We will have continued discussions on this and seek input from the Community.

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