Nevada law school announces some classes will remain remote entire spring semester amid coronavirus surge

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law will shift to remote learning for the first two weeks of the spring semester and will keep some classes fully virtual amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the area.

Sara Gordon, the school’s interim dean, made the announcement through an email to students and staff Wednesday. 

“As you all know, COVID case numbers and positivity rates are rising quickly in Clark County and hospitalization rates are also on the rise,” Gordon wrote. “The number of positive cases in Clark County last week was the highest of the pandemic, and it’s expected that those numbers will continue to increase for at least some time. Given that, and to protect both the Boyd and Las Vegas communities, we have made the decision to move all classes online for the first two weeks of the spring semester.”

Classes are set to begin Jan.18.

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Students attending seven public colleges in Nevada must get a COVID-19 vaccine to enroll in spring classes. This includes the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (Ashley Soriano/Fox News)

In addition to moving all classes online for a two-week period, Gordon also announced that some courses will shift to an online delivery format for the entire spring semester.

Gordon said the decision was made “based on individual professor preferences and pedagogical concerns.”

Specifically, Gordon said that the changes would affect courses designed for first-year law students and some upper-level courses.

“In making these changes, faculty have thought long and hard about how their specific course content is best delivered in these times and under these circumstances. In particular, we have brought some of the 1L day courses (including all sections of Constitutional Law 1 and LP2), as well as two upper-level courses (Labor Law and Law and Religion), permanently online for spring,” Gordon said.

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A UNLV student walks on campus after attending a class at UNLV amid the spread of the coronavirus in September 2020 in Las Vegas.

A UNLV student walks on campus after attending a class at UNLV amid the spread of the coronavirus in September 2020 in Las Vegas.
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In total, 24 course sections are shifting to an online course format.

Gordon added that adjustments could be made to the spring semester schedule based on changes in public health conditions.

A student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fox News Digital that the decision will disproportionately affect first-year law students.

“The first year of law school is by far the most difficult of grades,” the student said. “The two educations aren’t comparable in my opinion … All of the 1L courses are bar [exam] courses. The upper-level courses build upon those courses as well.”

The student believes that an individual’s ability to retain information in an online course setting decreases versus a traditional in-person setting.

A UNLV student takes notes as he attends a criminal justice class taught amid the spread of the coronavirus in September 2020 in Las Vegas.

A UNLV student takes notes as he attends a criminal justice class taught amid the spread of the coronavirus in September 2020 in Las Vegas.
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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A spokesperson for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law issued a statement to Fox News saying the decision to shift classes remotely for two weeks was made to protect the community.

“COVID-19 case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalization rates are rising quickly in Clark County and throughout Nevada,” the spokesperson said. “Case numbers have reached a pandemic high, and public health officials predict that those numbers will continue to increase over the next several weeks. 

“In order to protect the Boyd Law School and Las Vegas communities, the law school made the decision to move all classes online for the first two weeks of the spring semester, after which time we are optimistic that we will be able to return to mostly in-person classes. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the month and make any necessary adjustments based on public health guidance.” 

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