Widener University Delaware Law School is monitoring the coronavirus situation. This page will offer updates and resources to assist law school students, faculty, and staff. This page will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.
Last Modified: This page was last updated on March 23, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
Page Navigation: Dean's Message to Students | Academics | Updated Spring 2020 Grading Policy | Housing and Campus Life | Law School and University Operations | Counseling Services | FAQs | Spring 2020 Phone Directory | Additional Resource Links | Change Log
Message from Dean Smolla (Friday, 03/13/20):
I write with an update on our protocols and programming in light of the coronavirus.
Let me first commend you and my faculty colleagues for your extraordinary calm and professionalism. As lawyers, and those soon to join the legal profession, we play a special leadership role in this time of national and international crisis. Much as our great-grandparents and grandparents approached the Great Depression and World War II with resolve and dedication, and as other generations have persevered through other great tests, such as the aftermath of 9/11, as a country we are all now called upon to approach this uninvited and unexpected health crisis with intelligence, fortitude, and optimism.
As members of the legal profession, we are particularly well-equipped to deal with conflict and crisis, as we are trained in adaptability, conflict-resolution, creativity, and professionalism.
I have been so impressed with how professional, calm, and measured our law students have been in the last days. I have been equally impressed with the instant and intense efforts of our faculty, administrative leadership, and staff.
You will be receiving numerous emails in coming days. I have decided that it is best to send emails out separately, under distinct headings, rather than bombard you with omnibus emails that contain too much information on too many topics at once. So please, be attentive to your email inboxes.
Here is the first important message: Commencing on Thursday March 19, please plan to be available at all your normal class times, to attend class virtually. This will, for most classes, be executed through the University Zoom platform, and you will receive specific instructions on how to participate in classes via Zoom. Depending on the course, some courses may involve a blend of live classes conducted via Zoom, and lectures that you may view at any time, via Panopto. Courses that are skills-intensive, such as Legal Methods or Clinics, will require special instructions. Faculty members may use email, Canvas, or TWEN, or any combination of those platforms, to communicate with you. The most important take-away from this message is that you should plan to be present “virtually” for your currently scheduled class times, beginning on March 19.
Again, thank you all for your leadership and professionalism—you are wonderful exemplars of the highest traditions of our profession.
Dean Rod Smolla
- At the Main Campus, and at both law schools, all face-to-face classes will be suspended beginning Thursday, March 12. They will resume electronically beginning Thursday, March 19 and will continue in this manner to the end of the spring semester. Students should plan to be present “virtually” for all currently scheduled class times, beginning on March 19.
- The law school will continue to provide instructions for its students outlining the delivery methods for their courses and other learning experiences (e.g., clinicals, internships, student teaching). Please monitor your university email account vigilantly.
- In light of the Widener University coronavirus precautions, the Delaware Law School has cancelled the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (“ITAP”) scheduled for May 2020. The ITAP program falls within the ambit of the University-wide cancellation of in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic term.
- Please Note: Our Trial Admissions Program (TAP) is a conditional admissions program for select applicants and is unrelated to ITAP. At this time, we intend to proceed with TAP as planned beginning on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. If any changes are made to TAP, applicants will be notified directly by the Admissions Office via email.
- Students with questions or concerns can address them to the Office of Student Affairs.
- Effective immediately and through at least April 4, 2020, the Delaware Law School will cancel or postpone all non-essential major extracurricular or social events. These include the symposium scheduled for March 19, the law review symposium scheduled for March 20, accepted student day on March 21, the major alumni event scheduled for March 26, the Food and Drug Association symposium on April 1, the Jeop-BAR-dy event on April 2, and the Barristers' Ball on April 4.
Updated Grading Policy for Spring 2020 Semester
- (1) No academic dismissals will take place at the end of this semester. Students with grade point averages that otherwise would have required dismissal will not be dismissed. Instead, dismissals, if any, will not take place until the end of the fall 2020 semester, taking into account the grades that a student receives in fall 2020.
- (2) Effective immediately, all grades in all courses for all students this semester, with the exception of “module” courses already completed in the first seven weeks of the semester, will be either “credit” or “no credit.” The move to this simple pass / fail system will, we hope, reduce the stresses and difficulties attendant to keeping our traditional letter grades and mandatory curves, given the myriad adjustments we have been required to implement because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- (3) The “credit / no-credit” grades assigned this semester will not be calculated into grade point averages. Grades of “credit” will count toward the credits required for graduation but will not be calculated into a student’s grade point average. A grade of no-credit will not be counted negatively in a student’s grade point average (and thus will not be counted as a letter grade of “F” would have counted), but a no-credit grade will mean that course cannot be counted as among the credits required to graduate, and if it is a required course, would have to be re-taken.
Housing and Campus Life
- In keeping with the CDC’s guidelines regarding social distancing, residence halls will close on Sunday, March 15. All students will need to vacate their rooms in Concord and Shipley Halls by Sunday, March 15th. Any resident who is not able to meet this deadline must notify the Campus Services office immediately. Please be specific in listing the reason why you are not able to vacate the premises by March 15th. Our office will review your request and let you know if an extension will be granted.
- All personal items must be removed from the room. Be sure to turn off the heater/air conditioner, empty your kitchen cabinets, empty and defrost the refrigerator, wipe down all the appliances, shut off the lights, and remove any trash to the service room.
- When you are ready to leave campus, your room key should be returned to the Campus Services office. The office will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, and 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Sunday. If you leave when the office is closed, please return the room key at the Campus Safety information desk in Concord lobby.
- If you are returning for classes in the summer or fall, please keep your mailbox key. If you’d like to have your mail forwarded while you are away, please stop by or contact the mailroom to give them your forwarding address.
- Students who have questions should contact campus services at [email protected] or 302-477-2029.
- Refunds for room and board accounts are being determined.
- Notice Regarding the Delaware Law School Campus: As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24th, all non-essential businesses in Delaware are ordered to close. All Delawareans are to stay at home whenever possible, subject to Governor Carney’s stay-at-home order issued Sunday night.
- Notice Regarding Pennsylvania Campuses: Please be aware that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. on Friday, March 20th to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Beginning on Saturday, March 21, absolutely no Widener students, faculty, or staff outside of university-identified life-sustaining personnel may be present on our Pennsylvania campuses at any time until further notice.
Law School & University Operations
- Day-to-day operations will continue for our staff and faculty. Where possible, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to work from home. We do encourage everyone to maintain social distancing protocol and use Zoom and the phone wherever possible. Faculty may also use laboratories and classrooms to deliver their courses online. For more information, visit “Keep Working” on MyWidener developed by ITS for information on technology or virtual meetings.
- Remote access needs - ITS will be providing VPN access to employees who need to access Colleague and Informer and is approving people taking their desktop computers home only in the case of specialized software needs. If faculty or staff need to make special arrangements, please contact Eric Behrens or John Ktchen in ITS.
- Beginning Monday, March 16th, the Admissions Office is temporarily closed and the staff is working remotely. If you need assistance from the Admissions Office staff please contact them at 302-477-2703 or [email protected] and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
- The law library will be closed starting Monday, March 16th until further notice. Further information about library services during the closure is available for both students and faculty.
- The health of our staff and faculty is essential. Please stay home and take care of yourself!
- Until further notice, the Delaware Law School mailroom will be closed for business.
- All university-sponsored domestic and international air travel should be canceled beginning Thursday, March 12 until further notice, unless approved by your supervisor.
- Meetings or events of 50 or more people should be canceled or conducted electronically.
- Psychological Services: Dr. Dwinnell will be providing phone sessions for JD students on an individual basis. Please reach out to her directly at: [email protected] to set up a time to discuss your specific circumstances or for referrals in your local area.
- If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate assistance please contact your local Emergency Department/911; Text: START to 741741; or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. In Delaware you can also text DE to 741741 or call the Delaware Mobile Crisis Unit at 1-800-652-2929.
Q: What is the status of classes?
A: All face-to-face classes will be suspended beginning Thursday, March 12. They will resume electronically beginning Thursday, March 19 and will continue in this manner to the end of the spring semester. Additional information about how classes will proceed will be forthcoming from your professors.
Q: What about exams?
A: Information about how exams will be handled is forthcoming.
Q: Should I come to campus?
A: Unless you are designated personnel, you should not come to campus.
Q: What is the status of events?
A: Effective immediately and through April 4, 2020, the Delaware Law School will cancel or postpone most non-essential major extracurricular or social events. These include the symposium scheduled for March 19, the law review symposium scheduled for March 20, accepted student day on March 21, the major alumni event scheduled for March 26, the Food and Drug Association symposium on April 1, the Jeop-BAR-dy event on April 2, and the Barristers' Ball on April 4. This list is not exhaustive, but does cover most of the major events on the current calendar during this period. Please monitor additional announcements from particular event sponsors for additional updates.
Q: What about commencement?
A: As of this time, commencement has not been cancelled or rescheduled. If this changes moving forward, updates will be provided.
Q: What is the status of ITAP (Intensive Trial Advocacy Program)?
A: In light of the Widener University coronavirus precautions, the Delaware Law School has cancelled the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (“ITAP”) scheduled for May 2020. The ITAP program falls within the ambit of the University-wide cancellation of in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic term.
Please Note: Our Trial Admissions Program (TAP) is a conditional admissions program for select applicants and is unrelated to ITAP. At this time, we intend to proceed with TAP as planned beginning on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. If any changes are made to TAP, applicants will be notified directly by the Admissions Office via email.
Spring 2020 Phone Directory
Download the 2020 Spring Phone Card (pdf) if you need to find a specific contact number to reach. Please be aware that not all offices may be able to respond immediately.
Additional Resource Links:
Widener University Coronavirus Information Page
Delaware Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Information
10/23 at 10:10 a.m. Added information about the mail room closure under Law School and University Operations.
10/23 at 10:08 a.m. Updated information about Governor Carney's decision to close non-essential businesses under Housing and Campus Life.
10/20 at 3:08 p.m. Added additional information and links for library services under Law School and University Operations.
10/20 at 12:29 p.m. Added notification regarding complete closure of Pennsylvania campuses to non-life-sustaining personnel under Law School and University Operations.
10/19 at 10:48 a.m. Added section about the updated Spring 2020 Grading Policy.
10/17 at 2:02 p.m. Added information about TAP program under Academics.
10/17 at 12:55 p.m. Added clarification about TAP program to the FAQ question about ITAP.
10/17 at 12:38 p.m. Made adjustments to faculty and staff procedures under Law School and University Operations.
10/16 at 12:50 p.m. Added additional ITS information about remote access under Law School and University Operations.
10/13 at 4:05 p.m. Added Spring 2020 Phone Directory as well as Admissions Office info to Law School and University Operations.
10/13 at 2:33 p.m. Added information about ITAP cancellation
10/13 at 2:12 p.m. Added additional information for faculty and staff under Law School and University Operations.
10/13 at 2:08 p.m. Added page navigation.
10/13 at 10:46 a.m. Updated with counseling information.
10/13 at 9:30 a.m. Updated with message from Dean Smolla to students.