UofT LawYour 2020-2021 Law School Year

As we welcome you into your law school community, we ask that you monitor this page regularly for updates on the evolving plans for the academic year.

Looking Ahead: A Message from UofT President Meric Gertler
On May 18, Prof. Gertler outlined the careful and considerate balance between maintaining the interpersonal experience that students cherish with the undeniable need for personal and public health and safety. To learn more about the University's guiding principles for planning our recovery efforts, we encourage you to read the President's message.

FAQs on Safety, Teaching and Learning

Updated where indicated, on September 9, 2020



#1.  Will I need to wear a mask in class?

The University of Toronto’s policy on non-medical masks and face coverings states that staff, faculty, students, visitors and contractors must wear non-medical masks or face coverings in all common-use indoor University spaces, including classrooms and common areas in residences. Individuals may briefly lift their masks if they are eating or drinking.

#2. Do faculty have to wear masks while teaching?

No, faculty have discretion to remove their mask while lecturing as long as they are physically distanced from students, including those in the front row of a classroom.

#3.  What should I do if I have COVID symptoms?

Everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) should stay home and self-isolate. Please follow this Ontario Ministry of Health self-assessment tool. A number of dedicated assessment centres have been established across the Greater Toronto Region to facilitate assessment and testing. Information on locations is available on local public health websites, including Toronto and Peel Region. If you live in other regions you can find your local health unit here: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx If you are advised by a public health authority that you have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact ehs.occhealth@utoronto.ca immediately.

#4.  What if someone in my class tests positive for COVID?

The student who is ill should right away contact the Records office and inform the University’s health office at ehs.occhealth@utoronto.ca The University’s protocols will kick in and that office will conduct contact tracing and determine next steps. Students will be contacted by that office with instructions for what they need to do. If it is determined that everyone needs to go into quarantine, we will move the whole class online.

#5.  How have classrooms been configured to maintain safety?

Where possible, classrooms have a designated entry and exit door along with an ‘up’ aisle and a ‘down’ aisle clearly marked by floor decals. Chairs have been physically distanced. Cleaning wipes are located within each classroom.

#6.  How have common areas been configured to maintain safety?

The law school’s common areas has been physically distanced for the safety and comfort of you and others. The furniture should not be moved or rearranged.

#7.  What additional measures is the law school taking due to COVID-19 to keep students, staff, and faculty safe?

We're working hard to implement several safety measures to help students stay safe and healthy in our buildings. We are keeping up to date with public health guidelines and those issued by the University. We will be updating this page as the guidelines evolve. 

The law school's planned measures meet and, in some cases, exceed the recommendations set by public health officials. They include: 
  • Updated signs and floor decals that promote physical distancing, hand washing, maximum occupancy information, and other health and safety reminders. See more here. 
  • Increased availability of hand sanitizers throughout the buildings. 
  • The University is requiring faculty, staff, and students to wear masks in indoor public spaces. See the details here
  • Provision of washable cloth masks to students, staff, and faculty. 
  • All spaces, especially high touch areas, are cleaned on a rigorous daily schedule. We have hired additional caretakers so that the buildings will have enhanced cleaning protocols that include disinfecting. 
  • The law school will be issuing key fobs to faculty, staff, and students who are coming to campus for classes. The building will be locked and entry will be controlled to maintain safe building occupancy. 
  • Additional physical distancing equipment, such as plexiglass barriers, are in place in areas following public health guidelines

#8.  Experts recommend MERV filters rated 13 or above to prevent COVID-19 in indoor spaces. Is the law school upgrading the central air system to comply?

The Jackman Law Building’s HVAC system already has MERV 13 filters. Most of the spaces in Flavelle House and Falconer Hall have windows that open.

#9.  How can I learn about the University’s plans for reopening?

The University has posted a roadmap for a safe UofT experience, which you can read here. Also read the 12 ways U of T is preparing for a safe return to in-person instruction

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#1.  I am finding that coping with the uncertainties of COVID-19 and returning to school quite stressful. What resources are available?

We understand that that these are very stressful times. Students can access counselling and other supports through Health & Wellness at the University. Please see a list of resources on our Health & Wellness web pages.

#2.  I would like to explore accessing supports in the community. Who should I consult?

Terry Gardiner is our Student Mental Health and Wellness Manager and is available to assist students in making informed choices about support options in the community and to help navigate systems of care. He may be reached at terry.gardiner@utoronto.ca.

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#1.  Will there be an Orientation (O-Week) in August for first year students?

Yes! We are working hard to put together a fabulous orientation experience that will have in-person and online elements.

#2.  Will Legal Methods and Orientation be in person or online?

This depends entirely on whether or not we have moved into Phase 3 of re-opening. For now, we are planning for both options and will let students know by August 17th.

#3.  When will we receive our Legal Methods and fall 2020 schedules?

We will send you your e.legal passwords and instructions for how to access your schedules on August 17th.

#4.  How will we get access to our building Fob (electronic key)?

We will give you your fob on the first day of Legal Methods. Students who are taking Legal Methods online, but will be attending fall 2020 classes in person, will be contacted to make arrangements to pick up their fobs.

#5.  Will there be an equivalent welcome/meeting session for online students prior to the first Legal Methods course, or will we sign on for the first time when class begins?

If the scheduling allows it, we are hoping to offer welcome sessions for online students prior to their first Legal Methods class. You definitely will meet with your fellow “pod” members and your upper year pod leader prior to the first class.

#6.  I am an online-only student. Can I pick up my orientation package when I am back to school?

Yes! Please contact Sara-Marni Hubbard at sara.hubbard@utoronto.ca when you are ready to pick it up.

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#1.  What are the building hours?

The Flavelle entrance door access with your student fob.


From August 24 to September 4
Monday-Friday9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday & Sundayno fob access


From September 8 until the end of the fall term
Monday-Thursday7:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

#2.  I have heard that in-person students will receive a fob (electronic key) to the law school. What is this and what is it for?

In order to monitor the number of people in the law school, we will keep the building doors locked and only those with key fobs will have access. In-person students for the fall who are taking Legal Methods in-person will receive key fobs on their first day of in-person Legal Methods. Online-only students will not receive key fobs.

#3.  Can I pick up my fob during the week of Sept 8?updated

Yes, please see the schedule posted to the Fall 2020 Information page on e.legal. You will pick it up from the security booth in Flavelle.

#4.  Can I pick up my fob during the week of Sept 14?updated

Yes, please go to the Student Services desk on the 3rd floor of Jackman.

#5.  Can I pick up my fob with government ID?updated

Yes, you can if you don’t have your T-Card. You have to pick it up in person.

#6.  Which doors will the fob open?

Student fobs will only open ONE door: the Flavelle House entrance door (by the parking lot). This will help us to control the number of people in the building.

#7.  How does the fob work?

Each fob is unique to the user (student name and number). You need to tap the fob on the black fob panel to the right of the Flavelle House entrance door.

#8.  What happens if I forget my fob?

Phone the on-site assistance line posted outside the Flavelle House entrance.

#9.  What happens if I lose my fob?

Your first fob is complimentary—the law school has paid the fee. Any replacement fobs will cost students $20 each. Please contact the security booth inside the Flavelle doors.

#10. Will I have full access to all the law school amenities and spaces like common rooms?

We’re implementing measures to ensure safe access to amenities and spaces. This includes enhanced cleaning, additional signage, limiting capacity, and spacing of furniture. We may be required to limit access to these spaces to students attending classes to achieve appropriate social distancing, as per public health guidelines.

#11. Will the bookstore be open to buy textbooks?

Yes, the bookstore will be open. You can also purchase your books online.

#12. Will the Goodmans café in the main atrium be open?

Unfortunately no. It will be closed for the foreseeable future.

#13. Will we be allowed to eat in the law building?

Yes, you can eat in the common areas. There is a student kitchen (in the basement underneath the Rowell Room) with a fridge, sink, microwave and kettle.

#14. When we find out about our lockers?

Very soon. We will send out your locker assignments before September 8.

Locks are not provided, therefore please purchase your own lock and bring it to class every day during the first week of Legal Methods. We're expecting to stagger the access to secure your locker.

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#1.  What do I need to know to have a successful transition to online learning at the law school?

Please take a look at online learning resources here (PDF document).

#2.  How will the dual format classroom experience work?updated

Students who are joining the participating in class remotely will be on a Zoom call that will be projected on the screen at the front of the classroom, so that the instructor and the in-person students can see and hear them. There are cameras and microphones set up in the classrooms so that the remote students can see and hear the professor and in-person students. The setup will allow both remote and in-person students to participate and ask questions. While there will be some inevitable IT bumps at the start, we hope that this method will work well.

#3.  Do we need to switch our cameras on when we are in remote lectures?updated

This is a matter for individual instructors, but we suspect that most if not all faculty will request that you do so.

#4.  Will the law school record lectures?updated

As a blanket policy, no. The Faculty has a long-standing policy against recording lectures. For pedagogical and professional reasons, as well as others, we strive to offer a legal educational experience that is interactive and dynamic, and as such we expect our students to attend and participate in classes.

We understand that present circumstances may sometimes mean that it is difficult to attend class in person. In such circumstances, students should continue to attend class synchronously but remotely, using the Zoom address posted on the course Quercus pages.

If a student is unable to take class notes because of disability-related reasons, we will work closely with the student and their Accessibility Advisor to determine the appropriate accommodation.

#5.  What if I miss a class? Can I access recordings of lectures?

Lectures are not recorded. The Faculty policy for students who miss classes in any academic year is to have them rely on a classmate’s notes.

#6.  What if I have an online class that immediately precedes or follows an in-person class? Where will I go to take the online class?

Classrooms that are not being used for in-person classes will be reserved for students to attend online classes when they are unable to get home in time. Please obtain on-campus Wi-Fi access before classes begin, ideally by August 17th.

#7.  I am an in-person student with remote classes right after in-person classes, and I am planning to use the study rooms to attend the remote classes. How are these going to work? Won’t it be noisy with students participating in different remote classes?updated

We are developing a schedule that will reserve certain classrooms for specific classes so that all students from that class can be in a room together. We will be relying on only those students who have classes back-to-back to use these rooms, as capacity will be limited. If you have time to get home to take the remote class, we hope you will do so out of consideration for your classmates who live further away. Please see the schedule on the Fall 2020 page on e.legal.

#8.  I am remote student. How do I form or join a study group?updated

Studying with your classmates is a great way to help you learn. You can form a study group on your own by connecting with students in your classes. The Students’ Law Society also provides assistance with connecting students to groups. You can inquire with them at studentslawsociety@gmail.com

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#1.  What are the library hours? Will it be open on the weekends?

The Bora Laskin Law Library hours of operation.


From August 24 to September 4
Monday-Friday9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday & Sundayno fob access


From September 8 until the end of the fall term
Monday-Thursday9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

#2.  Will students be mandated to physically distance themselves from others while in the library or will working in small groups be allowed so long as students are wearing masks?

The library will use the physical distancing rules that the Faculty of Law and the University of Toronto are using in compliance with provincial public health requirements.
Smaller study rooms will be limited to 2 students, with spacing.
Larger study rooms (on the upper floor) will accommodate 4 students, with spacing.

#3.  How will we access the study rooms? Are the rules for using the study rooms different with COVID?

Study rooms in the library will again be available for online booking to UofT law students only, as in the past. However, the rooms will be left unlocked, and keyfobs will not be required for entry.

#4.  How will we access library resources? How is this different if I am an in-person or online-only student?

Online research consultations, reference assistance and citation advice will be available to all UofT law students throughout the term.

In-Person Attendance students
  • Library staff will retrieve and hold print material from the stacks for pickup upon request by Faculty of law users.
  • All stacks in the library will be closed to users, including the short term loan collection.
  • For print-only course reserves items, library staff will endeavour to scan and deliver portions to the extent permitted by copyright law and available resources upon request.
Remote-only Attendance students
  • You will have access to the full range of electronic material including ebooks and online journal articles across the many databases UofT law students have access to.
  • In addition to the online resources they have access to, students who are online-only will be able to request print material, and the library will attempt to obtain and make available the material in electronic form to the extent permitted by copyright law and available resources.
  • Library staff will be available online to support research, teaching and learning remotely.

#5.  Will non-law students be able to use the library?

No, only law students who have a keyfob can access the library space.


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#1.  Will attending remotely impair my professional development?

No. All career development activities and events will be made available to on-line students.

#2.  Will there be in-person employer events like law firm tours or career fairs?

It is unlikely that there will be any in-person employer networking events for 1Ls in 2020-21. However, the Career Development Office is working closely with employers to identify opportunities for virtual tours and networking, as well as programming that will give you all the information you need about the employers you are interested in learning about.

#3.  How will the formal recruitment processes for Summer 2021 be impacted?

A formal recruitment process marks the earliest time that employers in a geographic region can accept applications, interview, and extend job offers to students. Each region’s own individual Law Society typically oversees this process.

All Summer 2021 recruitment for 1Ls will take place in Winter 2021 except for the Ottawa intellectual property employers’ recruit, which takes place over late-October to mid-November.

It should be noted that the interviews for the 1L Toronto recruit will take place from March 2-4, 2021, instead of over the February reading week.

#4.  Can I still meet with a Career Development Office counsellor?

Unless you are hoping to participate in the Ottawa intellectual property recruit, there are no career-related deadlines you need to worry about in fall term. However, you will be able to book an appointment with a counselor in the CDO once you have the information you need to set up your U of T Law Career Network (UTLC) account, which should happen in late September or early October.

If your career questions are time-sensitive, we welcome you to email us at cdo.law@utoronto.ca to set up an appointment. Otherwise, look out for an email from us in a few weeks containing the link to your UTLC account.

We will also be seeing you for our first 1L live session on October 8th.

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#1.  Should I upgrade my computer/laptop? Are there minimum technical requirements?

The University of Toronto has posted information about technical requirements and resources.

#2.  When should I set-up access to the campus Wi-Fi?

For access to need to obtain your T-Card and UTmail+ account. Please get them at least a full week before classes begin, ideally by August 17th, to allow time for central IT to troubleshoot any access problems.



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