Message from the Dean - Fall 2021 COVID Policies
To the Albany Law School Community:
We are excited for next week when everyone returns to campus, and we welcome a new class of students. Our staff and faculty have been working hard all summer to be ready for this moment, and we are optimistic the fall will bring us together for a rich, fulfilling in-person learning and teaching experience.
As you know, Albany Law School made the important decision to require all of our community to be vaccinated in order to be on campus this year. Our community has come through with remarkable speed in getting vaccinated. Today, I am pleased to report that when we open for classes on August 23, we expect that more than 98% of our campus population will be fully vaccinated. This is important because it affords us all the opportunity to do things that we would not have been able to do without the vaccine. We have removed the requirement for the Daily Health Screen for our vaccinated population; we have removed the tape on the floor, the signage in the classrooms and offices; and we are able to allow groups to gather for classes, moot court, club, and social opportunities in much the same way we did prior to the pandemic. This rich and close environment is what makes an Albany Law legal education so special. We can’t wait to get started.
With this great optimism, we are also cognizant of the current situation locally relative to the spread of the Delta variant. The CDC has issued guidance recommending that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in public spaces indoors in areas of substantial or high transmissibility. Today, unfortunately, the Capital Region, and specifically Albany County falls into this category. Throughout the pandemic, the Public Health and Safety Committee has followed the best guidance from our health partners, the CDC, and the Albany County Department of Health. Even where difficult, that guidance has served us well. For that reason, we will all need to wear masks indoors until the recent rise in transmission declines. It is my sincere hope that we can discontinue this policy as soon as our medical and public health experts tell us we can do this safely. Understanding that we are a vaccinated community, we are not requiring mask use by vaccinated individuals in personal offices, work spaces, or where individuals can maintain appropriate social distance. Faculty will also have the discretion to remove masks to teach their classes. And vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask outdoors. For the few individuals who have been granted religious or medical exemptions, mask wearing is required at all times on campus except when outdoors if you are at a safe distance from other individuals.
Beyond mask wearing, there are some continued simple things that we can do to keep each other healthy and safe. If you are sick, stay home. Please notify the law school at HR@albanylaw.edu immediately should you have any symptoms related to COVID, or if you are concerned that you have come in contact with a COVID positive individual. Upon notification, we will let you know whether you need to be tested or to quarantine.
Also, please cooperate if you are notified that you need to be tested for COVID-19. With an almost fully vaccinated community, we are in a position of great strength as we move into fall. To add an extra layer of confidence in our decisions, and to track any unexpected community spread, we have decided to reinstate random weekly surveillance testing for our community. These tests will be available through our partners at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Vaccinated individuals selected for random testing will receive an email. We know that required testing can be a burden for those selected, and we are grateful for your compliance. Again, when the transmission level decreases, we will look to discontinue this practice as well. Unvaccinated individuals will be required to comply with mandatory weekly testing to retain access to campus.
I am very proud of all that we have accomplished as a community during the pandemic. We have come together to make it possible to be together and resume most of what we had prior to the pandemic. With the start of the 2021 fall semester, we are about to take a giant step forward, ready to face the continued challenges, COVID or otherwise, that are coming this year. I thank you all for your commitment and hard work on behalf of our law school.
All my best,
President and Dean
Fall 2021 Albany Law School Campus COVID Policies
- Vaccinated Individuals
- Daily Screener
- 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 report that to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mask wearing
- 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.
- COVID testing
- 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.
- 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. Vaccinated members of the Albany Law community must report this to email@example.com.
- 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 days of exposure and then must monitor daily for symptoms for a full 14-days while they continue to wear their mask. At the end of the 14-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.
- 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.
- Daily Screener
- Unvaccinated Individuals
- Daily Screener
- All individuals will be required to complete the Daily Health Questions.
- Mask wearing
- 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.
- COVID testing
- 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; 8/16 for employees, 8/18 for first-year students and 8/23 for returning students. Proof of negative test should be sent to HR@Albanylaw.edu
- 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.
- 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.
- If an unvaccinated individual has been exposed to a COVID-positive person, they must quarantine and monitor daily for symptoms for a full 14-days. The person should schedule a test ASAP. A negative test result performed on day-14 will be required to return to campus.
- 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.
- Daily Screener
ACPHS COVID Testing Site
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.