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COVID-19: Community Updates

Updated October 13, 2021

Albany Law School's leadership team is actively monitoring developments related to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The law school is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the New York State Department of Health, the Albany County Department of Health, and New York State government, as well as its internal Pandemic Response Plan.

Fall 2021 classes began August 23. 

We are in a return to a fully on-campus working, teaching, and learning environment.

In-person campus life is a hallmark of our tightly knit Albany Law community.

J.D. students are expected to attend classes in person in almost all cases.

Students may remotely attend classes that are designed as online classes, including semester in practice.  In addition, students with documented disabilities and those experiencing COVID-related hardships may request accommodations, including the ability to attend classes remotely.  

All decisions regarding accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis and are based on the individual student's documented disability or emergency situation. 

It is the policy of Albany Law School to preserve, to the extent possible, the privacy of all persons seeking or receiving an accommodation or adjustment because of a disability or COVID-related hardship.

Students seeking disability-based accommodations should complete the Accommodations Request Form on the law school portal and submit it to Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu).

Students seeking accommodations for COVID-related hardships should send requests for accommodations to Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu). 

The request should detail the nature and duration of the hardship necessitating the accommodation, as well as the specific accommodation requested. 

COVID-19 Dashboard

Reporting Period (October 9-15, 2021)

  • Number of tests reported for Albany Law community members: 60
  • Number of positives: 1
  • Positivity rate: 1.67%

Total Since August 23, 2021 (First Day of Classes)

  • Number of tests reported for Albany Law community members: 533
  • Number of positives: 7
  • Positivity rate: 1.31%

 

If you feel sick, have symptoms, have tested positive, or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19:

  1. Leave (or don’t come to) campus 
  2. Schedule a COVID test
  3. Seek medical care, if necessary 
  4. Self-isolate until you have test results (Although the CDC is not requiring vaccinated individuals to self-quarantine based on exposure unless experiencing a COVID-19 symptom, Albany Law reserves the right to require exposed vaccinated individuals deemed close contacts to remain off campus until they can produce a negative COVID test taken at least 3 days after exposure.)
  5. ALL students, faculty, and staff fill out the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reporting Form on the law school's internal portal (Albanylaw.edu sign-in information required).
  6. Follow the instructions on the confirmation email after submitting the form.
  7. If you are a student who will miss classes due to COVID-19, contact your professors and email Kpalm@albanylaw.edu directly. Attend your classes via Zoom, if you are able. Otherwise, watch class recordings when able. Students attending via Zoom should not check themselves in through Quickly.
  8. If you are a faculty or staff member, contact your supervisor, team members, and/or students directly about your absence and give/receive further instructions.
  9. Contact tracing is done directly to those involved by the the law school and/or health authorities, if necessary.
  10. If Your Test Result is Negative 
    1. Submit proof of a negative test through Share My health or by emailing hr@albanylaw.edu
    2. If you are a student, you are expected to return to class the day after you receive your negative test result unless your medical provider instructs you to continue isolating. If your medical provider instructs you to continue isolating, contact Kpalm@albanylaw.edu
    3. If you are a faculty or staff member, contact your supervisor, team members, and/or students directly to give/receive further instructions.
  11. If Your Test Result is Positive 
    1. Notify hr@albanylaw.edu
    2. Remain in self-isolation 
    3. Seek medical care, if necessary
    4. If you are a student, continue to attend your classes via Zoom, if you are able. Otherwise, watch class recordings when able. 
    5. If you are a faculty or staff member, contact your supervisor, team members, and/or students directly about your continued absence and to give/receive further instructions.
    6. Schedule a COVID test
  12. If you are a student who missed classes due to COVID-19, when you return to campus fill out the COVID-19 Related Absence Form to update the Student Affairs Office of the absence.

More about COVID-19 student absences is here.

 

Current On Campus Policies

  1. Vaccinated Individuals
    1. Daily Screener
      1. Vaccinated individuals will not be required to complete the Daily Health Questions. Vaccinated individuals who believe they have COVID symptoms or may have come in contact with a COVID positive individual should fill out the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reporting Form.
    2. Mask wearing
      1. Following current CDC guidelines all individuals on campus whether vaccinated or unvaccinated are required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces. This policy is in response to the current increase in cases and the Delta variant transmissibility but will be re-evaluated if and when case rates are lower in our area, and as guided by local health officials and/or the Albany County Department of Health. If an individual is alone in their personal office or work space, and can maintain appropriate social distance, they can refrain from usage.
    3. COVID testing
      1. Surveillance – We will continue with weekly surveillance COVID testing of campus. Students or employees will be randomly selected for testing and receive a notification by email, stating testing is required; a link to schedule testing will be provided.  If testing is not completed as requested, ID card access to campus buildings may be denied.
      2. Symptomatic – If a vaccinated individual has any COVID-related symptoms (such as coughing, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, fever, shortness of breath) they will be required to have a COVID test AND have a negative COVID test result before they can return to daily campus activities. Also, fill out the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reporting Form (see above).
      3. If a vaccinated individual has been exposed to a COVID-positive person, they will be required wear a mask at all times upon notification of exposure, to test within 3-5 days of exposure and then must monitor daily for symptoms for a full 10 days while they continue to wear their mask. At the end of the 10 days, exposed individuals will test again. If the exposed individual does not develop symptoms, they do NOT need to quarantine. If symptomatic, an immediate COVID test is required, a negative test result is required to return to campus activities.
      4. If a vaccinated individual tests COVID positive, they will be required to complete a 10-day isolation and contact tracing will occur to track campus movement.
  1. Unvaccinated Individuals
    1. Daily Screener
      1. All individuals will be required to complete the Daily Health Questions.
    2. Mask wearing
      1. Following current CDC guidelines for areas of substantial or high COVID transmission in Albany County, all individuals on campus whether vaccinated or unvaccinated are required to wear masks while indoors. This policy is in response to the current increase in cases and the Delta variant transmissibility but will be re-evaluated if and when case rates are lower in our area. 
    3. COVID testing
      1. In order to obtain clearance to come to campus, unvaccinated individuals must have a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to the first day on campus;  Proof of negative test should be sent to HR@Albanylaw.edu
      2. Surveillance – COVID testing will be mandated for all unvaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated individuals are required to schedule and complete a weekly, COVID test each Monday. Testing can be scheduled using: https://acphscovidtesting.timetap.com/#/ It is the responsibility of the unvaccinated individual to adhere to these testing protocols.
      3. Symptomatic – If an unvaccinated individual has any COVID-related symptoms (such as coughing, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, fever, shortness of breath) they will be required to have a COVID test AND have a negative COVID test result before they can return to daily campus activities. Also, fill out the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reporting Form (see above).
      4. If an unvaccinated individual has been exposed to a COVID-positive person, they must quarantine, test within 3-5 days of exposure and then must monitor daily for symptoms for a full 10 days while they continue to wear their mask. At the end of the 10 days, exposed individuals will test again. A negative test result performed on day-10 will be required to return to campus.
      5. If an unvaccinated individual tests COVID positive, they will be required to complete a 10-day isolation and contact tracing will occur to track campus movement.

  2. Eating and Drinking

    1. Members of the campus community can remove masks while eating and drinking in public indoor areas except classrooms. It is required that individuals return to mask usage immediately after eating and drinking and it is strongly recommended that appropriate social distancing be practiced.
    2. Members of the campus community should take advantage of outdoor areas for eating and drinking whenever possible especially when gathering with large groups and where social distancing is not possible.  Eating is prohibited in all classrooms. Faculty may allow the consumption of water or other drinks at their discretion.
    3. Unvaccinated members of the campus community must maintain at least 6 feet distance from others while eating or drinking in public indoor areas.
    4. Event guidance with food and drink - all events with food and drink should maximize social distancing and must use the cafeteria or outdoor space.

 

Off Campus Event Policy

There is a recognition of a desire to conduct events off campus with our external community which includes alumni, prospective families and students, as well as members of the broader legal community through CLEs and other professional and student organizations. There is also a recognition that COVID transmission rates continue to be high in the Capital Region and in many parts of the country.

This policy will serve as guidance for departments that wish to hold events that take place off campus with individuals who are not a part of the internal Albany Law School community. The guidelines enumerated below reflect those that are in place on campus and are consistent with policies enacted by the Public Health and Safety team.

All guests who will be attending any law school event off campus will be required to register prior to the event and no walk-ins will be allowed at this time. Guests will need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated to attend any law school event. 

Additionally, Albany Law School will follow a “vaccinated and” system to add to the safety of our guests and the members of the staff who will be participating in these events. Proper communication will be sent through the invitation to each guest prior to the event. 

  1. Vaccinated and outdoors – the preference will continue to be conducting off campus events which are outdoors. Masks and social distancing are not required for outdoor events for vaccinated guests.
  2. Vaccinated and masked – while indoors and in groups, unless people are eating or drinking, it is expected that members of the law school community wear masks.  Social distancing is not required unless masks will be removed for eating and drinking.  Any additional guidance or policies established by the venue will be followed.
  3. Vaccinated and socially distant – for indoor events where individuals will be removing masks to eat or drink, event organizers must limit capacity to allow for social distancing. (i.e., proper spacing for each room will be determined by the event organizer and the Public Safety Team if needed). Indoor events will be by invitation only and all guests will need to pre-register.

If you are planning event that does not meet the above guidelines, please submit a proposal outlining the details of the event to the Public Health and Safety Team for consideration at airiz@albanylaw.edu.

At this time, it is not recommended that the law school conduct large, general invitation events as a way to control capacity for these activities. This decision, and other policies, may be changed based on COVID-19 transmission rates and changes to CDC guidelines.

 

ACPHS Testing Site

Room B209
84 Holland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208

Parking - Visitors for the ACPHS COVID Testing Site may park in the half circle in front of the 84 Holland Avenue Building.

Testing Site - Enter through the front of the building. Take a left to access the stairs or elevator on the right side. Go up to the 2nd Floor. Exit the stairs or elevator and take a left, then another left to access a long hall. Follow the hall until you reach room B209 on the left.

Click to enlarge.

 

Required Vaccinations

All faculty, staff, and students, except those eligible for religious or medical exceptions, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before coming to campus.

For this reason, Albany Law School has added COVID-19 to the list of already required immunizations that includes Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. All students will have to present proof of vaccination before returning to campus.

 

Vaccination Medical and Religious Exemptions

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 exemption 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.

Albany Law School will provide reasonable accommodations to students with approved medical or religious exemptions provided they do not create an undue hardship for the School and do not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others on campus.  Students with approved medical or religious exemptions to immunization requirements may be required to submit weekly negative COVID tests and to wear masks at all times on campus.

 

Student Wellness

We are here for each other.

Albany Law School encourages students who are experiencing heightened anxiety or worry about COVID-19 to schedule an appointment with wellness counselor Dr. Peter Cornish.

More resources are available at Albany Law School's Wellness Blog.

 

Zoom Backgrounds

Frequently Asked Questions

    We have returned to a fully on-campus working, teaching, and learning environment. Changes may occur if state and federal guidelines evolve over the coming months.

    All faculty, staff, and students, except those eligible for religious or medical exceptions, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19

    COVID-19 has been added to required immunizations for students that includes Measles, Mumps, and Rubella.

    Students, faculty, and staff with approved medical or religious exemptions to immunization requirements may be required to submit weekly negative COVID tests.

    Students seeking medical exemptions from vaccination requirements will need to submit the following documentation to Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu): 

    • 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, students should submit a statement affirming a sincerely held religious belief that precludes getting the COVID-19 vaccine Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu).  The statement should briefly explain the religious principles that guide the objection to immunization.

    Albany Law School will provide reasonable accommodations to students with approved medical or religious exemptions provided they do not create an undue hardship for the School and do not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others on campus.  Students with approved medical or religious exemptions to immunization requirements may be required to submit weekly negative COVID tests and to wear masks at all times on campus.
     

    Yes. The CDC recommends that those who have recovered from COVID-19 get vaccinated because it is unclear how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovery. For this reason, Albany Law is requiring vaccinations for those that have recovered from COVID-19.

    J.D. students are expected to attend classes in person in almost all cases.  

    Students may, of course, remotely attend classes that were designed as online classes, including semester in practice.  In addition, students with documented disabilities and those experiencing COVID-related hardships may request accommodations, including the ability to attend classes remotely.   

    All decisions regarding accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis and are based on the individual student's documented disability or emergency situation. It is the policy of Albany Law School to preserve, to the extent possible, the privacy of all persons seeking or receiving an accommodation or adjustment because of a disability or COVID-related hardship. 


    Students seeking disability-based accommodations should complete the Accommodations Request Form on the law school portal and submit it to Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu).  
        
    Students seeking accommodations for COVID-related hardships should send requests for accommodations to Katie Palmieri in the Office of Academic Affairs (kpalm@albanylaw.edu).  The request should detail the nature and duration of the hardship necessitating the accommodation, as well as the specific accommodation requested.    

    Following current CDC guidelines all individuals on campus whether vaccinated or unvaccinated are required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces.

    This policy is in response to the current increase in cases and the Delta variant transmissibility but will be re-evaluated if and when case rates are lower in our area, and as guided by local health officials and/or the Albany County Department of Health.

    If a vaccinated individual is alone in their personal office or work space, and can maintain appropriate social distance, they can refrain from usage.

    The Law School is currently allowing invited guests onto campus. Guests are required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

    At this point, only unvaccinated people will receive daily health screenings, but this could change depending on public health guidance.

    CARES Act: Emergency Financial Aid Disclosures

    1. Albany Law School has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and has  used the applicable amount of funds designated under CRRSAA and ARP (a)(1) programs to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
    2. Albany Law school has been awarded $280,229 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CRRSAA and ARP (a)(1) programs.
    3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under the CRRSAA and ARP (a)(1) programs as of September 30, 2021 is $280,229.
    4. As of September 30, 2021 the estimated number of students at the institution that were eligible to receive Emergency Aid Grants to Students under the CRRSAA and ARP (a)(1) programs is 591.  
    5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students under the CRRSAA and ARP (a)(1) programs as of September 30, 2021 is 591.
    6. The method used by Albany Law School to determine which students received Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CRRSAA program (a)(1) and how much they received  was through an online application located at: https://albanylaw.edu/emergencyfundapp.  Applications were reviewed weekly by a committee. Albany Law School awarded Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the ARP (a)(1) program to all students who were enrolled in the 2020-2021 academic year to help offset additional costs incurred by them as a result of the COVID pandemic. Students received the same award based on their academic program.  
    7. The application in the above link has been e-mailed weekly to students by the Student Affairs Office in their regular weekly update communication.  Students are asked to provide documentation to support their need, as best they can.  Direction is given that the Emergency Financial Aid Grants do not cover lost income. 

    Reporting