Winter 2022 Planning

August 20, 2021 - Message to Students Regarding Accommodations and Other FAQs

Dear Windsor Law students,

I hope that this message finds you and yours all well. 

On July 26, President Gordon's announcement explained that the fall term gives us a chance to gradually transition to a full return to in-person teaching and learning in the winter term. In preparing for a return to campus, Windsor Law, alongside the University of Windsor more broadly, has adopted a number of health and safety protocols, procedures and tools.  These include:

  • mask requirements
  • enhanced cleaning
  • zone and flow analysis within each building, class and office space
  • room capacity limits to ensure social distancing
  • plexiglass in meeting rooms and classrooms
  • enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols
  • air and water quality protocols
  • use of the Safe Lancer app

Additional information is outlined in the Health and Safety Guidelines for a Safe Return to Campus. Decision-making by the University of Windsor about returning to campus includes an expert panel that provides advice on health and health-related guidelines, including salient changes in COVID-19 information. Most recently, the University of Windsor has also announced the requirement of COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty, staff and visitors who attend campus. I invite you to read more about UWindsor’s requirements for vaccination.

As we transition back to in-person classes in the winter, we appreciate that each of you will have decisions to make about such things as course selection and living or housing arrangements. Planning around a pandemic remains fluid and we all continue to face uncertainty and feel some level of anxiety. We will all need time and space to adjust as Ontario and other provinces continue to move towards easing restrictions. As things change, it is important that we support others in whatever ways we can and that we tend to our own wellbeing. Our dedicated staff is ready to assist and to help make your transition back to campus as smooth as possible. Whether you decide to return to Windsor in September, plan to move for the winter term only, or plan to commute this year for one or two terms, we will do our best to provide advice, support, or referrals. We know that you will also extend support to those around you in the spirit of Windsor Law collegiality.  

We also recognize that for some, the return to campus creates exceptional and significant hardships. Some individuals will require accommodation. If you require accommodation because health or accessibility considerations make it impossible for you to return to campus, please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Requests for accommodation that are outside of SAS’s mandate may be addressed to Windsor Law’s Academic Status Committee consisting of faculty and/or staff. The Committee will consider applications for accommodation in the winter term on a case-by-case basis for those whose return to campus is not possible owing to unusually difficult circumstances arising out of the pandemic. Please see below for more information about this process.

Dual JD students will need to also consider the University of Detroit Mercy’s policies and protocols. These are defined in light of several factors, including, among other things, local health requirements and ABA regulations.

We remain vigilant but optimistic about the future. We want to ensure the best possible education experience. In addition to some in-person classes in the fall, there will be occasions to meet your peers and other members of the campus community outside of class. I recently visited our dedicated Windsor Law student space in the CAW Centre.  The indoor lounge and outdoor patio will provide a pleasant environment for students to gather and get to know each other outside of class. Additionally, there will also be other formal and informal opportunities to meet and connect with one another.  

Some have contacted staff with questions over the last few weeks. Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. I hope that this information helps you as you develop your own plans. My office will continue to provide updates by email on the return to campus as the information from various sources becomes available to us or as policies and procedures are developed. The most recent updates and information can be found in one location for your convenience on the Windsor Law COVID updates site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. The fall term will be delivered primarily on-line. Windsor Law has, however, created opportunities for in-person teaching and learning for those who choose to attend in-person. In-person options are available in both first and upper years. We have used student survey data and other information to determine how many in-person or HyFlex courses to offer in the fall.

The term “HyFlex” is used differently by different people. At Windsor Law, we use the term to describe courses that combine in-person with online learning. Instructors are face-to-face with those learners who elected to be in-person and the instruction is simultaneously streamed online to students who are participating remotely.

Yes. The winter term at Windsor Law will be delivered in-person. For some there are many advantages to returning to campus. We understand, however, that this may not be the case for everyone. Individuals facing exceptional circumstances for health or other reasons may require accommodation. More information on Windsor Law’s accommodation processes is addressed below.

Dual JD students should also consider the University of Detroit Mercy’s requirements.

Unless the public health situation changes and we are advised by health officials or the University of Windsor that we must return to remote learning, the winter term is expected to be delivered in-person with accommodations made only for individuals in exceptional circumstances. This means that while some instructors may offer one or two class meetings of any given course on-line (as they did before the pandemic), as of now, there will not be a menu of on-line courses made available to all students in the winter.  

As noted above, students in the Dual JD program will need to pay attention to developments and plans at the University of Detroit Mercy when it announces its policies and protocols, including any related to accommodation, for the winter. These may differ from Windsor’s frameworks.

Law schools can confer law degrees on students they deem eligible to graduate and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada sets the standards to determine whether law programs qualify to graduate students who are eligible to practice law. Windsor Law continues to ensure that its program meets Federation requirements as we plan the 2021-2022 academic year.

We cannot guarantee that the winter term will be in-person because the pandemic continues to create uncertainties though public health measures have helped and we remain optimistic about the future. We have planned for in-person teaching in the winter. Faculty expect to be back teaching in the classroom. Staff, including staff in the General Office, Student Services and Administrative Services have all returned to campus, some on a rotating basis and others daily since August 3. The Dean’s Office has been back on campus since July 4. Our clinics are planning for a return to in-person service as well. But, we continue to remind ourselves that the pandemic is unprecedented and unpredictable. We are optimistic but vigilant and will continue to plan in light of public health guidelines.

No. Students are required to attend class in-person but should make their own decisions about living arrangements based on individual circumstances. Some may choose to live in Windsor while others may choose to commute and spend a few days only in Windsor. This is a factor that each person will have to consider and manage based on their own circumstances. Windsor Law’s dedicated staff will do their best to assist with decisions and transitions. Those who choose to commute should take special note of course scheduling for the winter term and be prepared for the fact that their commute may limit their course options.

For those for whom a return to campus is not possible owing to unusually difficult circumstances arising out of the pandemic, accommodation applications can be made through Student Accessibility Services. Dual JD students must also consult University of Detroit Mercy’s policies and ensure that they meet program requirements on both sides of the border.

Windsor Law’s Academic Status Committee, consisting of faculty and staff, will consider winter accommodation applications made for reasons that fall outside the mandate of SAS. In such cases, applications for accommodation should be directed to the Office of the Academic Coordinator after September 10 but no later than October 12, 2021.

Accommodation applications for those who cannot return to campus in the winter term will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  The key consideration will be whether the pandemic has created unusually difficult circumstances that affect the ability to return to campus.  Documentation may be requested, again on a case-by-case basis.

Decisions about the nature and scope or type of accommodation that can be offered to each person will also be made on a case-by-case basis. In each case, faculty and staff will work to ensure that the best possible teaching and learning environment is created bearing in mind factors such as students’ needs, instructor resources, and technological capacities. A range of accommodation options may need to be considered and accommodation does not guarantee a learning experience identical to in-person instruction. For example, HyFlex learning may not be available for some courses and the type of accommodation (eg. asynchronous plus synchronous learning) will be determined in light of a number of factors such as learning outcomes, student needs, and available resources.

The following websites contains information that may be useful to you. We have also included contact information below for individuals who can directly assist with your inquiries.

Windsor Law’s regulations on academic status govern requests for withdrawals and leaves of absence. This policy will be applied to all requests this upcoming academic year.

No. Externships are part of the formal MSW/JD curricular requirements and have been recognized as such by the Federation of Law Societies. They formed part of the program prior to the pandemic and comply with the gradual return to campus policy. No exemption is required.

No. There is no regular class component to supervised research papers though supervisor and student are required to meet regularly as part of a program of study that must be pre-approved by the Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies).  Supervised or directed research papers formed part of the program prior to the pandemic and comply with the gradual return to campus framework. No exemption is required.

There several benefits to returning to campus. Direct interaction between students and faculty and direct engagement with peers are integral to Windsor Law’s program. Connection, community, interaction with peers and professors are among the benefits that have been lacking since we moved to an online environment. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities can also resume with a return to campus, subject to public health requirements. Social activities, both formal and informal, are being planned to increase the overall experience of our return to campus and community. There is also the benefit of meeting informally to get to know one another and enjoy each other’s company on a daily basis. We will each have to ease into these activities in our own way. Some will be ready to simply return in the winter while others might take the time to ease into a full return to campus by coming back in the fall.

Windsor Law’s Elder in Resident offers one-on-one guidance sessions to assist with mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health needs from a holistic Indigenous perspective.  To make an appointment, please contact Michelle Nahdee, Coordinator of Indigenous Legal Studies, at michelle.nahdee@uwindsor.ca

The pandemic has created additional concern, stress, conflict and anxiety in some form for most people. The University of Windsor has created a Wellbeing Portal to help community members understand and manage aspects of wellbeing and mental health related to COVID-19. We value community and care about each of our community members. Please reach out to your friends or trusted faculty and staff if you would like to talk. 

We also offer confidential counselling services.

At present, appointments are available through secure on-line or telephone lines and in-person appointments will be made available as public health and professional regulations allow. Contact the Student Counselling Centre via email scc@uwindsor.ca and you will generally receive a reply within 24-48 hours.  Please note:

  • Students in the Faculty of Law can choose to speak to the intake worker who has appointments each day on a first come first served basis.
  • Students can ask to schedule an appointment to speak with Windsor Law’s Clinical Therapist, Clinical Therapist Black Student Wellness & Support, or another therapist if they prefer.  
  • Students will be asked to complete an intake, confidentiality and consent form and to provide a student ID card or number.

Additional wellness resources can be found at:

Updates are made available to students by email as we learn about new and relevant information, as processes are created, or as policies are defined. We also post updates online and have created dedicated resource pages to assist students in making transitions and decisions.

The following dedicated Windsor Law staff will do their best to answer your questions.
 

  • To apply for accommodation based on long-term health or accessibility needs, please contact SAS or Student Accessibility Services – sas@uwindsor.ca
  • To apply for accommodation outside the scope of SAS, please contact Windsor Law’s Academic Coordinator’s Office – lawac@uwindsor.ca
  • For information about return to campus protocols, please contact Windsor Law’s Special Projects Coordinator to the Deans of Law, Meagan Haugh – meagan.haugh@uwindsor.ca
  • For other inquiries related to the JD and MSW/JD program such as Windsor housing resources and course scheduling, please contact Assistant Dean (Student Services) Francine Herlehy – francine.herlehy@uwindsor.ca
  • For Dual JD inquiries, please contact our Dual JD Program Director, Katharine Fisher – katharine.fisher@uwindsor.ca
  • For assistance with OSAP and financial aid, please contact Katia Benoit, Assistant Dean (Admissions, Recruitment and External Relations) – katia@uwindsor.ca
  • For wellness and mental health supports, please contact The Student Counselling Centre at scc@uwindsor.ca OR to contact Windsor Law’s Elder in Residence, please write to Michelle Nahdee, Windsor Law’s Coordinator of Indigenous Legal Studies, at michelle.nahdee@uwindsor.ca

Please note that staff are receiving a high volume of emails. They do their best to get back to everyone as soon as possible.

These are unprecedented times and they present us with opportunities to challenge ourselves, demonstrate our strengths, and support each other. 

On behalf of Windsor Law’s faculty and staff, I wish all a safe and happy August. We look forward to welcoming you as classes and other Windsor Law activities resume in the fall.  

Sincerely,

Reem Bahdi
Dean of Law


 

August 9, 2021 - Message to Incoming Students

Dear Windsor Law Class of 2024,
 
I want to share how excited we are to be welcoming you to the Windsor Law community. Your future is bright and we are privileged to be guiding and supporting you through your law school journey. 
 
Following my July 13 update to upper year students (below), many of you had questions pertaining to your first-year classes, particularly about the mode of course delivery. As you know, fall will be conducted primarily online.  But, we want to give those who prefer some in-person study the opportunity to do so as a way of easing back into the winter term.  The following classes are available for you to elect to attend either in-person or online this fall:
  • Dual JD - CND & US Criminal Law: LAWG 5815
  • JD - Indigenous Legal Orders: LAWG 5962
Instructions on how to enrol for either option have been shared with you by Assistant Dean Herlehy in your most recent weekly Friday update. All other fall courses will be online. 
 
As for the winter term, subject to the direction of the University of Windsor’s central administration and public health agencies, all first-year classes will be delivered in-person. 
 
While further details will be shared with our broader Windsor Law community in the coming weeks, I wanted to share this news with you directly as you receive your schedules for the fall and begin to plan accordingly for the academic year ahead.  We understand that different members of our community are navigating different circumstances and have different needs. Some may choose to come to Windsor in the fall, others may wait until winter and others may commute to campus.  Some may need accommodation for medical reasons or other similarly pressing, unavoidable reasons.  For those who do require accommodation for the winter term, details will be communicated as soon as they become available. 
 
For those of you who will be in Windsor this September, we encourage you to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor community spaces that Windsor has to offer. I invite you to join me on a new initiative to connect with and welcome you. I will spend most Friday afternoons taking a short health-break by walking along the river and I invite you to join me.  This is my first term as Dean and the first time that I have not been in a classroom for almost two decades.  Walking together along the river in small groups will grant us the opportunity to get to know one another outside of the classroom and campus.  
 
Thank you for your patience while we worked through the details of ensuring we do our absolute best to protect your safety and wellbeing while providing you with the absolute best legal education this school year ahead and beyond.  
 
For more information about housing, visit the UWindsor Off-Campus Housing website. 
For more information about fall and winter term schedule, reach out to Assistant Dean (Student Services), Francine Herlehy via email: francine.herlehy@uwindsor.ca
 
Sincerely,

Reem Bahdi
Dean of Law


July 13, 2021 - Message to Upper Year Students

*This message is for upper-year students only. An update directed to incoming law students is expected to be released shortly.

Dear Students,

As you head into upper year at Windsor Law, I want to commend you for all you have accomplished and overcome so far in your law school journey. The past year and a half has been challenging for all of us, but you have shown determination and agility in navigating these uncharted waters. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support as we all work together to ensure your successful completion of studies in the year ahead.

As one of my first orders of business in my new role as Dean, I wanted to provide you with an update on the winter 2022 term.  As things stand, it is anticipated that our upper year classes in the winter term will be delivered in-person, subject to further instructions from the University of Windsor and public health officials. 

Some have inquired whether the entire year can be offered online, especially for 3L students.  Unfortunately, we do not have this flexibility. Our return to campus is defined by the need to ensure that our programs continue to meet the requirements set out by our regulatory body.  In the case of our Dual JD program, we must be mindful that our program meets the requirements of both Canadian and American regulatory bodies.

Windsor Law is recognized by The Federation of Law Societies of Canada and we are reviewed annually by the Canadian Common Law Program Approval Committee to ensure that our academic programs meet The Federation’s National Requirements.  As part of its requirements, the Federation stipulates that teaching and learning must primarily take place in-person. We have already had one full academic year of online instruction because the pandemic shut down universities and other institutions. With the progressively positive public health situation, we anticipate that the Federation will require a return to in-person instruction and learning by the winter term.  No exception has been made by the Federation for 3L students and I do not anticipate that such an exception will be forthcoming.  

I know that an eventual return to campus is welcomed news to many of you and yet, this presents certain challenges to some students, specifically regarding financial planning, housing, employment and personal commitments.  We are also aware that accommodations may be needed in specific cases. We will do our best to help you navigate any exceptional circumstances and commitments that you may be facing.  We will also work towards accommodating different needs.

Our primary goal is to remain as flexible as possible within the parameters set out for us, including those stipulated by the Federation’s requirements for in-person instruction.   

If you have any further general questions, please address them to Francine Herlehy (Francine.Herlehy@uwindsor.ca) in the JD program or Katharine Fisher (Katharine.Fisher@uwindsor.ca) in the Dual JD program.  They will be able to help with questions about course offerings, scheduling, and housing resources, among others.

Your safety and health continue to be of the utmost importance to us. Please know that we are here to assist you in preparing to return to classes and will continue to help you in any way we can.  We will also continue to communicate any updates as they become available.

Enjoy the rest of your summer as the province opens up further and we have more opportunities to enjoy each other’s company.

Sincerely,

Reem Bahdi
Dean of Law


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