Will Remote Learning Return This Fall?

As of August 12, 720 colleges and universities in the US are requiring COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students and staff for the fall semester.

While undergraduate programs have a number of factors to consider in reopening—from dorm living to dining halls—law schools differ slightly. The population is older and, for the most part, does not have the same type of residential living situations that undergraduate programs have. Mike Spivey, founder of Spivey Consulting, recently discussed how he thinks law schools will approach the fall semester as COVID-19 surges from the Delta variant.


Spivey does not think that law schools will, for the most part, go fully remote this fall. Rather, he says, mitigation efforts such as mask wearing will likely return.

“Those mitigation efforts would include mask wearing, hybrid options (particularly for those at high risk or who have not been able to get vaccinated), and with private schools probably proof of vaccination for in-person learning (with very rare exceptions for populations that can’t be vaccinated),” Spivey writes.


With many colleges and universities planning to open their campuses this fall, Spivey thinks that remote learning won’t play as a big of a role in the coming year.

“As a general matter, I don’t believe that we will see nearly the same proactivity toward remote learning again — and I should note that this is not a normative or judgmental statement, rather my observation and research — unless there are a number of cluster outbreaks as we saw before during less transmissible periods,” Spivey writes.

Rather, remote learning will be used sparingly. For the most part, Spivey says, people are tired of making bold decisions around opening and closing campuses.

“Understandably, many people are worn down from almost a year and a half of the pandemic, and quite frankly even at the leadership level they are a bit worn down with decision making,” Spivey writes. “This is not me saying they should or shouldn’t make evidence-based, health-first minded decisions, but I think many are a little bit more hesitant to pull the trigger on strict behavior control mechanisms and/or full remote learning, and therefore I don’t think we will see schools go remote unless and until we see cluster outbreaks.”

Sources: Spivey Consulting, The Chronicle of Higher Education

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