Schaffer Law Library Update for Bar Takers

June 10, 2020


I write today with great news.

On Monday, June 15, the Schaffer Law Library will reopen for Albany Law School graduates who are studying for the upcoming bar exam. We are going to limit access to bar takers and library staff only—at least initially—and the library will operate on a modified schedule: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The success of our bar takers is a priority. So is the safety of our community, and we have adopted several temporary policies, following best practices and guidance under Phase 2 of New York State's reopening plan.

In order to gain entry to the library, you will need to

and sign and return the Shared Responsibility and Community Safety Agreement on the last page. We ask that you return the agreement to adminservices@albanylaw.edu by 4 p.m. on Friday, June 12.

Starting Monday, users and staff must:

  • Sign in upon entry, and undergo a mandatory health screening assessment, consisting of an on-site questionnaire and temperature check.
    • Anyone reporting symptoms of COVID-19 or registering a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be denied access. Those individuals must self-isolate for 14 days or submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus.
  • Users will select an assigned workspace for the summer, on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Work or study in the assigned workspace for the entirety of the summer. Seating will be limited to one person per table or carrel.
  • Wear a mask upon entry, and at all times in common or shared areas. Users will be allowed to remove masks for solitary work at assigned workspaces, so long as physical distancing is maintained.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet wherever possible.
  • Clean all work spaces before and after use. 


  • Only the library and the East and West Foyers will be accessible. The rest of the 1928 Building, as well as the 2000 Building, will remain closed, in accordance with New York State's reopening guidelines.
  • Entrances to the 1928 Building will be at the East and West Foyers only. Signs and barriers will be in place to prevent users from entering areas other than the library or foyers.
  • Seating in the library and foyers will be set up for physical distancing.
  • Users are discouraged from eating in the library. A tent will be set up outside the West Foyer entrance for eating.
  • The library will be cleaned nightly, and bathrooms will be cleaned throughout each day.
  • Cleaning sprays and wipes will be available on every floor.

Finally, there's the possibility that someone who has been in the library will test positive for COVID-19. If that happens:

  • The person must notify the Office of Human Resources of their positive test.
  • Albany Law School will notify state and local health departments and cooperate with contact tracing efforts, maintaining confidentiality required by law.
  • Albany Law School will notify the community and close the library for at least 24 hours to allow for cleaning and contact tracing.

This is a big step. The law school's full reopening will hinge on the success of this trial run. To that end, we are adopting a strict "no compliance, no usage" policy. Anyone who deliberately fails to observe health and safety requirements will have their library privileges revoked.

I am confident in this plan. I trust that you, our graduates, will follow the policies. Most of all, I am thrilled that we can reopen the library for those of you who will benefit from it.

This is our initial plan. These policies are subject to change as circumstances evolve, and as we grow and learn. It is possible that we will be able to expand the hours of operation, or allow others to use the library, as time goes on. Those decisions will be based on experience, government regulations, and policies adopted by the Return to Campus Task Force, whose work is ongoing.

I'm certain you have questions. This Thursday, June 11, at 4:30 p.m., I will walk you through the Summer 2020 library policies and address any concerns during our regularly scheduled campus forum. 

All my best,


a drawing of a person

Alicia Ouellette
President and Dean