Information for students concerning Spring '22 re-opening

January 3, 2022

Dear Students,

Happy New Year! We hope that you are having a safe, restorative, and enjoyable winter break. 

As much as we had hoped that we would usher in 2022 by safely putting the pandemic behind us, it is now clear that we are unable to do so.  Like much of the country, the Capital Region has experienced an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, requiring us to continue and even increase our vigilance in order to resume in-person learning and teaching. 

I write to update you on our current plans. While the situation could change if health or government officials advise otherwise, our current plans are as follows:

  • We will return to in-person classes, as scheduled, on January 18. There may be adjustments (remote learning for a short period) in specific classes.  In such cases, faculty will reach out directly to their students with instructions.
  • We are requiring all eligible members of our community to receive COVID booster shots before returning to campus on January 18.  Those individuals with existing medical or religious exemptions need not reapply.  Students seeking an exemption for the first time should submit documentation to kpalm@albanylaw.edu (see details below). 
  • We will continue to require individuals who test COVID positive to stay off campus for 10-days.  The law school will continue its practice of notifying the County of Albany for contact tracing purposes.  We will also directly notify individuals we identify as close contacts.
  • We continue to require that masks be worn properly at all times indoors on campus except when individuals are actively eating in the cafeteria, sitting in a carrel in the library, or are alone in a private office or assigned workspace.  We strongly recommend that you use an N95, KN95, or KF94 mask as they offer the highest level of protection against the spread of the Omicron variant. 
  • At this time, we are strongly recommending that all community members get tested the weekend before classes start. You must also test if you show any symptoms or have had a known exposure. Please do not come to campus if you are experiencing any symptoms, even mild ones. Please note, New York State has opened a mass testing site at Crossgates Mall and will soon reopen its testing site on the UAlbany campus.  You can make an appointment here.
  • At this time, we will continue to provide access to Zoom recordings of classes to students who cannot be present because of COVID-related concerns.  We will also excuse COVID-related absences from in-person attendance requirements.  Please do not come to campus if you are symptomatic or have been exposed.
  • At this time, we are continuing to limit indoor eating to the cafeteria. We know that many of you would like more options, and we will continue to explore possibilities after this wave of cases subsides.  Currently, the cafeteria ventilation system provides more fresh air than anywhere else in the building, and is a place that no community member has to pass through or otherwise spend time in.  

We acknowledge that some of you will feel these protocols are unnecessarily restrictive while others will wish they were even more restrictive.  Law School leadership is constantly assessing available information, consulting medical and public health experts, and making the best decisions we can as we honor our commitment to provide a safe and vibrant in-person learning experience in these challenging circumstances.  We will make modifications if necessary to keep the community safe.  

We are grateful for your cooperation, understanding, and all you do to keep our community safe. Please know that we are willing to consider COVID-related accommodation requests for those who need them, even if temporarily.

I look forward to seeing everyone back in Albany on January 18, 2022.  In the meantime, please submit your questions or concerns to Director of Communications Tom Torello at ttore@albanylaw.edu.  He and I will compile responses and get back to you as quickly as possible.

Below are details for submitting materials, including booster and accommodation requests.

All my best,

Alicia Ouellette
President and Dean

Anyone experiencing symptoms should not come to campus, should consult their physician, and get tested.  

Here are the instructions to upload information about your booster shot to Share My Health: 

  1. Go to https://www.sharemy.health/
  2. Sign In 
  3. Go to “Home” 
  4. Click “+ Upload Your Vaccination” at top of page
  5. Enter type of vaccine and vaccination dates 
  6. Upload a photo or pdf of your vaccination card (you can take a photo at that time)

Those seeking medical exemptions from vaccination requirements will need to submit the following documentation:

  • Proof of a medical condition that is a contraindication to the vaccination.
  • Date qualifying medical condition exemption ends.
  • Signature of a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant attesting to the condition and its contraindication to the vaccine.

To request a religious exemption, submit a statement affirming a sincerely held religious belief that precludes getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  The statement should briefly explain the religious principles that guide the objection to immunization.  

All student requests for exemptions or accommodations should be submitted to Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu). All other requests should be submitted to hr@albanylaw.edu. The Public Health and Safety Committee is continuing to monitor the situation and will update our COVID protocols as necessary.

Alicia Ouellette
President and Dean