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Mitchell Hamline Dean Anthony Niedwiecki told students that online learning has been going well at the school. . (Photo: Rebecca Slater for Mitchell Hamline School of Law)
Mitchell Hamline Dean Anthony Niedwiecki told students that online learning has been going well at the school. . (Photo: Rebecca Slater for Mitchell Hamline School of Law)

Bar Buzz: Mitchell Hamline to be online-only through spring

The Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s dean has informed students in an e-mail that the school will remain closed to in-person classes through the spring semester.

Anthony Niedwiecki, the school’s dean and president, informed students on Oct. 19 that the public health situation has not changed appreciably since late July when the decision was made to teach remotely through the fall months. So the closure will be extended.

Classes will continue to be held on a remote-only basis through the January term—or “J-term”—and spring semester, he said.

The dean acknowledged that many students have reported feelings of social isolation and anxiety about their own health and their families’ as the pandemic wears on. “I know that for some of you, this decision to continue online will intensify those feelings,” he wrote. “But my priority remains the health and safety of everyone in this community.”

Niedwiecki said Minnesota’s infection numbers are rising, many arising out of unknown community sources. That makes it difficult for public health officials to track COVID-19’s spread and creates uncertainty for school officials about how best to block transmission, he said.

On the bright side, Niedwiecki told students that online learning has been going well at the school. “Our faculty have done an excellent job, with the support of the academic technology team, and you all have adapted extremely well,” he told students.

He said that the law school building will remain closed for classes and that no outside groups’ events will be hosted during the closure, though the library will remain open. Faculty and staff can work on campus, he added, but are encouraged to work remotely if they can.

The law school has reported no COVID-10 cases, he said. But any students who do test positive are urged to report it to Dean of Students Lynn LeMoine, he said.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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