Update on Remote Classes and Contact Tracing

September 16, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

I write to update you on the results of the County Department of Health's investigation and our plans for the next couple of days.

The investigation:

The County Department of Health has determined that there was no on-campus contact to be concerned about.  This is a relief.

There is, however, concern about the contact that took place on Saturday at the Lionheart.  19 of our students are under quarantine orders as a result.  Most of those students were tested today; all were negative.  But because people exposed to the virus can test positive up to 14 days after exposure, those impacted students will need to remain off campus and attend classes remotely until they submit proof of a negative COVID test taken after 9/26.   

The County has advised that contacts of impacted students, such as roommates and friends of those under quarantine, do not need to quarantine unless the quarantined individuals test positive.  Of course, all of us, whether or not we know that we have had contact with someone who could have been exposed, should be careful to protect others by wearing masks, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds, and washing our hands.

The County has also advised that it is not necessary to shift to all remote classes; with the impacted students under quarantine, the law school can decide when to return to in-person classes.

Plan for Thursday and Friday:

Although the County did not require us to shift to remote classes, the law school has nonetheless decided to hold all classes remotely this Thursday and Friday (9/17 and 9/18), with in-person classes resuming Monday.  Starting tomorrow morning, the library and buildings will be open for use by students, faculty, and staff who pass the health screen and are not under quarantine.

We decided to go remote for two reasons.  First, this incident spooked a lot of people, raising significant anxiety about potential exposure.  Two additional days with reduced time in classrooms will give all of us a bit more time to become reassured that the steps we have taken have, in fact, prevented spread of the virus.

Second, and importantly, while the County was completing its investigation, the law school was able to secure audio visual experts to come make significant upgrades to our classrooms to allow for better audio for remote and in-person students.  The AV company will be on campus and in the classrooms tomorrow and Friday.  Holding classes in a remote format will facilitate their work and limit possible exposure to workers.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we have worked through these details.  Please stay safe, and keep each other safe. 

Let me know if you have any questions.

Alicia Ouellette
President and Dean