Fall 2020 FAQ for the Pitt Law Community

Pitt Law has developed a comprehensive activity plan for successfully restarting operations and welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus. The careful planning effort addresses the public health concerns around restarting the Fall 2020 semester. For more information, please find frequently asked questions pertaining specifically to Pitt Law.

Below, please find frequently asked questions pertaining specifically to Pitt Law.

What do the three operational postures mean for faculty, staff and students returning to the Barco Law Building?

The University of Pittsburgh has established three operational postures that drive the decision making and activity levels. Accordingly, Pitt’s operations, in every posture, is that there must be a good reason to be on campus and in our building. This means that we must justify and approve everyone who will be in the law building at any time and in any posture. 

  • High-Risk Posture:  In the high-risk posture, the University is open, but activity is heavily restricted to help stop the spread of the virus. We will operate with a skeleton crew and do only the most necessary of functions. The building is on full lockdown and only essential personnel are permitted in the building.
  • Elevated Risk Posture: We will host a limited number of students/graduates with need in the building (as we are doing now for bar exam study) and we will have a few more staff and faculty in the building for certain tasks that satisfy a test for need. We will ask everyone to teach online unless you can demonstrate a need to be in the building. Even then, we can only host classes not larger than 25. Law community members will have swipe access to enter according to their designated schedule. For cleaning and refreshing purposes, the available building hours are 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays.
  • Guarded Risk Posture: Meets the minimum standards of Pennsylvania’s green phase. Here, fewer restrictions are in place, while many mitigation measures remain. This posture allows us to have more activity within the building, such as instruction, research, library services, clinic and incubator operations, and study spaces, but only on the designated schedule that we create in order to comply with density restrictions. Law community members and some non-law students and faculty with classes in our building will have swipe access. The building hours will be 7 am to 10 pm Mondays through Thursday; 7 am to 5 pm on Friday; and noon to 8 pm on Sunday. We are closed on Saturday, which will allow time for cleaning crews to provide a deep clean to our building each week.  

When and where are face coverings required? 

The rules regarding personal responsibility have these major elements: wear a face covering, maintain six feet of physical distance from others whenever possible, follow all self-monitoring health protocols, and do not come to the Law School if you are sick or think you may be sick. Face coverings must be worn at all times, covering both the nose and mouth, when in the Law School building, with these limited exceptions:

  • When alone in a private office.
  • When eating and drinking while practicing social distancing.
  • When an alternative has been approved as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act or religious observance accommodation processes.

Face coverings will be provided to staff, faculty and students. 

What will the fall semester look like?

The fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 24. We will offer both in-person instruction in our building as well as remote instruction for the 2020-21 Academic Year. Some students and faculty will be fully online, while others will have the option of hybrid learning. Our current course schedule is available here. The public health situation is evolving, and thus our plans are subject to change as needed.

If we begin attending class in person, how easy is it to switch to attending class remotely instead?  

You may switch from in-person to remote learning at anytime in accordance with the Flex@Pitt model. Please note that the attendance policy will remain the same per usual for all classes. The American Bar Association Standards for Approval of Law Schools and the policy of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law require regular and punctual class attendance in order for a student to satisfy residence and credit hour requirements. 

Will Pitt Law provide any parking accomodations for law students who typically rely on public transportation to attend classes due to the risk of being in a crowded space?

Unfortunately, Pitt Law will be unable to provide any parking accomodations for students coming to the building for the fall semester. Students are encouraged to practice safe social distancing measures by walking or riding bikes to campus. This academic year, with added support from Pitt’s Office of Parking, Transportation and Services and a grant from Pepsi, all students and employees on the Pittsburgh campus will have access to the benefit of free 30-minute rides on Healthy Ride’s system.View the latest updates for on-campus parking and transportation from University of Pittsburgh Parking Services.

Where are we able to go between classes? Is the basement area still open? If so, how will social distancing work in that space? If not, does Pitt Law have another location for us to safely sit between classes.

Students are encouraged only to be in the building for class and studying. The ground floor and student lounge will be closed with limited high top tables and ADA seating accomodations. We are still waiting on confirmation if the sidebar will be open for the upcoming semester. Students should also take advantage of the second floor patio to eat lunch and practice safe social distancing measures. All of the doors will be open throughout the building and during classes for ventaliation.
 

Will Pitt Law be ensuring that we have access to a list of resources in the event that we do get sick or need covid testing?

Up to 400 University of Pittsburgh undergraduate and graduate students per day will be selected for testing to help us monitor the prevalence of the virus on Pitt campuses before in-person classes even begin. In addition to testing students as they arrive on campus, 24-hour testing will also be available for any student who experiences symptoms of COVID-19. As part of the University's planning process, Pitt has identified and prepared isolation facilities at each Pitt campus. Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be able to live in these facilities—separated from others—for an extended period of up to 14 days. Students should reference Pitt's detailed plan for safely returning to campus.

Will undergrads be able to use our building and our library? If so, how is Pitt Law monitoring the undergrads? 

In accordance with the University's guidelines for the Fall semester, our building will be open to undergraduate students and classes; however, the public will not be allowed to enter the building at any given time. Everyone will be given swipe access to enter the building and must have their Pitt ID on them as well as follow the safety procedures and guidelines determined by the University and the Law School when in the Barco Law Building. 

Will the administrative staff and services be delievered on campus or virtually for the fall semester? 

You will have access to the full range of student services, including the Professional Development Office, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, and the Registrar's Office, with most of the services offered remotely. The Pitt Law Library will be operating on a modified schedule and you will have access to all of their resources remotely as well. The team members in the Professional Development Office are available for remote appointments via skype or Zoom, resume and cover letter reviews, and to answer any question you may have related to your job search. 

Will all events and student organization meetings be virtual for the Fall semester?

Answer TBD.