T14 Law School Cancels Classes Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

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Coronavirus continues to hit too close to home for the legal community. Lawyers and law students alike have had brushes with COVID-19, which has led to both law firm and law school closures, with numerous people forced into quarantine.

In Seattle, Washington, a coronavirus hot spot, Washington Law has been forced to move all of its classes to an online format for the rest of the quarter. In New York alone, the second person in the state who tested positive for the illness was a lawyer, and that diagnosis reverberated throughout the city. Thus far, a student at Cardozo Law went into self-quarantine after contact with the lawyer’s firm and New York Law School closed its doors for extensive cleaning due to another student’s contact with that lawyer’s firm. Most recently, Quinn Emanuel shuttered its New York office and moved to a work-from-home structure after one of its partner tested positive for coronavirus.

Today, three more New York-area law schools have decided to close their doors.

The following message can be found on Columbia Law’s website homepage:

ALERT: Suspension of Classes: Because a member of the Columbia community has been quarantined as a result of exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19), classes are suspended on Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10. This suspension of activities will allow for preparation to shift to remote classes for the remainder of the week.

Students at the highly competitive T14 law school will receive a nice little two-day break before their classes resume in an online format. Students at this elite law school aren’t the only ones who are being affected by a coronavirus closure thus week.

Hofstra Law’s posted the following message on its website homepage:

In an abundance of caution, Hofstra University is cancelling in-person classes for the upcoming week, beginning on Monday 3/9, with Spring Break for main campus undergraduate and graduate classes beginning as scheduled on Saturday, March 14. All class work will be made up and a new schedule will be announced soon.

What does this mean for the school’s law student population? Have people with online classes this week gotten the short end of the stick? Will the new schedule eat into the school’s upcoming spring break, which is currently scheduled to begin on March 30? Will the school be forced to use its one snow/make-up day to fulfill its teaching obligations for this semester? These are all difficult questions that the law school administration must answer, but thankfully students are being kept safe.

UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): Minutes after this story was published, Fordham Law announced that its campus would be closing due to coronafirus fears. Like Columbia, Fordham will suspend in-person classes after 1 p.m. today through March 10, and then will carry on with online classes for an indefinite period of time until further notice. A student at the law school reports that they “haven’t heard anything about how classes are going to be conducted yet.”

What is your law school doing to protect students and faculty from coronavirus? Please text us (646-820-8477) or email us (subject line: “Coronavirus Response”).

Alert [Columbia Law School]
Update on COVID-19 and Class Activity [Columbia | Preparedness]
Campus Notification [Hofstra Law School]
Campus Alerts [Hostra University]
Coronavirus Updates [Fordham University]

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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