Partial re-opening of our school and resumption of in-class teaching in August 2020
July 29, 2020, 2:21 PM
Dear Colleagues and Students,
I hope you are well. I am pleased to announce that we will begin a partial re-opening of our Academic Campus – and a partial resumption of in-class teaching, starting in August.
Specifically, this plan involves:
(1) The Administrative and Academic Campuses will open for administrative staff on Monday, 3rd August, and for academic staff on Monday, 10th August. This is to allow for phased implementation of our Covid-19 protocols.
(2) The New Class of 2025 arriving on campus on the weekend of 15th-16th August to begin an in-person Orientation & Bridging Course (OBC).
(3) The Class of 2025 remaining on campus for the entire Autumn semester, which we estimate will begin on 31st August and end in mid-December 2020.
(4) The upper class cohorts (2022, 2023, and 2024) finishing the Spring 2020 semester online, as planned. Their current semester will end on Friday, 25thSeptember.
(5) The Class of 2022 only returning to campus on the weekend of 26th-28th September, and remaining on campus for the entire Autumn semester, which we estimate will begin, in their case, on Tuesday the 29th of September and end in late December.
(6) The Classes of 2023 and 2024 will begin their Autumn semester online, and will remain that way until further notice.
This decision was taken after consultation with the Re-Opening Task Force and the Dean’s Advisory Council, as well as taking input and suggestions from students, staff, and other stakeholders, as well as expert input from the relevant RGoB agencies.
We will be sending out much more information in the coming weeks – including from our Covid-19 Implementation Team, spelling out the health and safety rules that we will need to implement in the “new normal.”
This latest transition will require a great deal of planning and work from all of us. It will also require constant vigilance within our community. I know I can count on every single one of you to do your part, and more!
Stay safe and healthy!
JSW LAW: Plans for Autumn semester 2020
June 25, 2020, 06:49 PM
Dear Colleagues and Students,
On Sunday, I wrote you a first message, with the law school’s first response to the Government’s phase-one re-opening of the campus. In that message, I promised to consult with various experts, officials, and stakeholders, and report back to the community with our long-term plans for online- and face-to-face teaching.
I am writing today to formally announce our plans.
We will continue teaching and learning online for the remainder of the Spring semester. The Spring semester will end on 25th September. Since many faculty have replaced their final examinations with periodic assignments and tests, we will not have a dedicated examination period; for classes where there is an end-of-term test, the faculty will make arrangements with his or her students to conduct the test online during the term of the semester.
This was not an easy decision, but it is borne of two considerations:
(1) The future is uncertain, and there is simply no way to make it more certain. The Hon’ble Prime Minister informed us that the next major announcement concerning re-opening will come in four weeks’ time, and much will change between now and then. We simply have no guarantee that the partial or complete reopening of the law school campus will be possible, even in Phase II of the Government’s plan.
(2) Even in light of this uncertainty, we must give certainty to our students and teachers. It is impossible for a teacher to plan his/her semester – or for a student to plan his/her studies – if the rest of the semester remains up in the air from week to week. In order to permit faculty and students to proceed with the semester with a sense of confidence, it is important to make a decision that we can all stand by and count on.
We have considered a number of options, including bringing back only some of the students, bringing students to Taba in “shifts,” and compressing the semester by going to six days of teaching a week. In the end, taking into account not only the safety of the students and faculty but also the teaching and learning impact of these other options, we have determined that the best option is to complete the Spring semester online.
For our incoming class, this means that the Orientation & Bridging Course (OBC) for the Class of 2025 will not begin until September, at the earliest. The Office of Student Services will continue to be in touch with our incoming class with useful information and other communications.
I will report on the impact of this decision on the Autumn semester schedule in the coming weeks. I have also instructed the Vice Dean and the Registrar to consult with our stakeholders – including faculty, staff, and students – as we make our plans for after the Autumn semester.
I have convened a task force – including representation from Estate, Student Services, the administration, the faculty, and the student body – to begin an in-depth study of the logistics of re-opening the campus, including the student capacity of our living, dining, and learning quarters. I expect that, by the time we decide to re-open the campus in the Autumn, we will have a solid plan in place, not only to re-open but to operate our campus in the best possible way in the “new normal.”
With respect to working from home: in light of our online education, we will continue our current work-from-home and work-from-office policies until further notice. Please continue to consult with your head of department if you have any doubts about your specific department’s policy.
As always, please contact me, the Vice Dean, or the Registrar if you have any questions about the above policies.
JSW Law’s plans for teaching, learning, and working
June 21, 2020, 01:35 PM
My dear Colleagues, friends, and Students,
A month has passed since I wrote to you my last email. I am confident that you and your loved ones have been keeping well and in good spirits. I am very hopeful that we will be able to see each other in person soon.
As you may already know, the Royal Government announced the first phase of its plan to re-open the nation in the face of COVID-19. Titled “Moving Forward: In Transition to a New Normal,” this is a very bold decision following the lessons learned and confidence gained during the last three months. I encourage you to read the plan yourself, but in short, the Royal Government plans to lift the existing restrictions in phases, starting with critical sectors and essential services.
One aspect of the Government’s plan is the immediate discontinuation of “work from home” for government and business offices. I will consult with relevant officials concerning its application to JSW Law, in light of our unique situation and relevant exceptions. Until such time, existing arrangements will continue.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
The Government has determined that Class X, Class XII, and final-year college students will resume face-to-face classes in July. Other classes (including all three classes of JSW Law students, and our incoming Class of 2025) will need to await further government orders. Until we are instructed or permitted to re-open, faculty and students should continue with the existing online teaching-learning arrangements. I am thankful to everyone for your continued excellent cooperation and support.
The Ministry of Health and the Government have also issued guidelines and requirements for the reopening of schools. This week, I will assemble a task force to begin planning how we would comply with government recommendations and requirements, once we re-open. I will keep everyone apprised as the task force and our other advisors make progress on our plan and timeline for welcoming you back to campus.
I do hope to see you all soon. In the meantime, please follow the Government’s advice and directives for your own safety as well as your family’s. At the same time, let us all pray sincerely for the success of the Government’s decision in embracing the “new normal”. Our continued responsibility and support in preventing spread of the disease in the community will be very important.
I would like you to join me in offering our deepest gratitude to His Majesty the King for the exemplary leadership and sacrifices, His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the Dratshang/Rabdeys for the numerous Kurims, and the royal government for its concerted efforts and initiatives in successfully securing the safety and wellbeing of every Bhutanese during this challenging times.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, the Vice Dean, or the Registrar.
Update with re-opening of school and starting of our online classes from 8th June 2020
May 18, 2020, 09:01 PM
Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Students,
I hope you and your loved ones are keeping well during the continuing school closure. I miss you all and look forward to the day when we can see each other in person.
As you know, it is still uncertain when we will be able to reopen our school for normal business operations. We are following the news closely and also seeking advice and direction from the appropriate authorities. At the moment, we simply cannot say with certainty when we will be able to welcome you back to campus.
We have held several meetings over the past week to discuss the prospects and procedures for starting classes online.
I am pleased to announce that, after extensive consultations and discussions, we will begin online classes on Monday, 8th June 2020. As you have heard, since April, our teaching faculty have been engaged in self-study and training to help them better adapt their courses and materials to online instruction. “Online classes” will include live meetings, as well as pre-recorded lectures and written and video materials. The ICT department is in the process of preparing training videos and other supplements, so that faculty and students will be able to fully engage in online education.
As part of our plan, we will be “slowing down” the semester. We completed five weeks of classes before we closed the campus, and another week online. Therefore, we will pick up with the seventh week of our semester on the 8th of June. However, two online weeks will equal one “in person” week. That is, week seven will last from Monday the 8th to Friday the 19th. We have decided to do this for two reasons:
(1) Based on the experiences of other colleges in Bhutan and around the world, it is clear that we cannot expect students to engage in full-time learning in the online context. Apart from problems with the Internet, students have other distractions at home, and learning online is exhausting (in different ways than face-to-face learning);
(2) We do hope that we will be able to resume face-to-face education, as there is simply no substitute – especially in legal education – for classroom and group interaction. Therefore, by slowing down the semester, we hope that we will be able to pick up with face-to-face classes before the modified semester ends.
I know that this new schedule will impact the scheduling of the Autumn semester, as well as the intake of our new Class of 2025. We will keep you informed as to those matters as decisions are made (and as the situation evolves).
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, the Vice Dean, or the Registrar.
We hope to see you soon. In the meantime, please follow the government’s advice and directives for your own safety as well as your family’s. And, if you find time and motivation, please join His Holiness The Je Khenpo’s prayer initiative to overcome this pandemic and economic challenges caused by it.
Message from the Dean
April 15, 2020, 02:57 PM
I hope this email finds you and your families and loved ones safe and healthy.
It has been a little over two weeks since we closed our school in keeping with the government directives regarding closure of schools and institutions in the country to contain potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. It seems like a very long time ago! Through television and radio, newspapers, and social media, I am sure you are as up-to-date as I am with the recent developments in the country. One thing we know for sure is that the King, the government and the people are fully united in successfully fighting this pandemic. We are optimistic that our life will return to normal as soon as possible.
I like you to know that the management team at the law school meets regularly to assess the evolving situation in the country. In addition to government directives, the team also checks with our sister colleges and universities and with relevant agencies for useful information.
As of now, we do not have an expected date to re-convene our classes. We will update you accordingly.
As the waiting gets longer, restlessness and anxiety are bound to set in our lives. I am sure you will be thinking about how to complete your semester lessons, semester-end exams, and assignments, research activities, so on and so forth. While I think this is natural and normal, I genuinely believe that this is an occasion and an opportunity for us to stay home with our family during these uncertain times and learn to work from home. As Lee Iacocca had said, “In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plough your anger and your energy into something positive.” I think this is the time and times like this in the future to do just that!
You will agree that the key messages from His Majesty’s Royal Address as well as Hon’ble Lyonchhen’s national address are loud and clear. One important message was the role of each citizen in stopping the spread of this virus through social and physical distancing (the cheapest and the most effective means). Thus, each one of us has a big role in protecting ourselves as well as our loved ones and community from the infection. It is possible that we might let our guard down under the false confidence that either the virus is either contained or not acknowledging the true impact of this COVID-19 infection: we must resist this temptation!
I am glad that our regular Academic Council, HRC, Administrative and other meetings are being held online to ensure minimum disruption to the operation of the school functioning. Aside from the meetings, I urge you to continue coordinating with your respective HoD to plan your work in a timely manner. I request the HoDs to kindly continue your coordination and facilitation efforts with your staff.
In the meantime, I would like you to stay safe, take care of yourself and your family while working from home. Remember to offer your prayers as well.
With kind regards,
March 28, 2020, 02:21 PM
JSW Law’s response to the royal government’s latest directive
March 18, 2020, 06:25 PM
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
In light of the royal government’s latest directive issued last evening suspending classes until further notice, JSW Law has decided the following:
- Classes are cancelled on Thursday and Friday of this week (19-20 March, 2020). (Faculty might continue to assign homework and assignments, but there will be no class meetings.)
- From Monday, 23 March to Friday, 03 April, we will have online classes. Faculty are encouraged to use the next four days to plan your teaching for those two weeks. ICT Department will be providing information about your various options, which will include both live and recorded presentations, etc.
- After Friday, 03 April, if the government has reopened schools and tertiary institutions, we will return to normal teaching schedule. However, if the royal government has not reopened schools and tertiary institutions by that date, we will declare a holiday, resuming classes only once schools and institutions are re-opened. This may require extending the semester by additional weeks in May and June.
Between now and 03rd April, students are not permitted to go home. First of all, the campus seems to be as safe as any place right now. Second of all, we will not be able to support online classes for students who are dispersed around the country.
Faculty are advised to contact the Vice Dean about their ideas for online classes over the next two weeks. He will be in touch with you soon. ICT Department will also be sending around a message with a range of new options they have been working on.
Staff are encouraged to talk to your direct supervisor to determine your hours and activities over the next two weeks.
Thank you all for your continued patience, support, and flexibility in this turbulent and uncertain time.
I will continue to provide weekly (or more frequent) updates, as news and events warrant.