Dear Georgetown Law Community:
I hope everyone had a wonderful start to the semester last week. The first week of classes is always an exciting time, even remotely.
As you know, we are adding some on-campus activities over the first three weeks of this semester. Last week, students in the COVID-19 testing protocol began using library study spaces. Starting this week, student organizations are able to use reserved on-campus spaces for meetings of up to 10 people. This week and next, a limited number of hybrid classes will begin with faculty and some students in the classroom.
We are designing a return to campus that will minimize the chance of on-campus virus transmission. Nevertheless, a hard fact of this pandemic is that some members of our community have contracted COVID-19, and until vaccines are widely available and take effect, more will, some of whom will visit campus. When a person who has been on campus is later diagnosed with COVID-19, the community deserves to know. I want to share with you how we plan to share information in such cases.
First, the University has a contact tracing system in place where anyone who has had contact that poses a risk of transmission with a person who later tests positive will be notified. If you have such contact, you will be informed and given information about what to do.
Second, we will be trying out a program whereby once contact tracing is complete, the Law Center will notify students who we know were in the same general area at the same time as someone who has tested positive, even if the nature of the contact did not present a significant enough risk to warrant notification through the contact-tracing system. For instance, if a person physically present at a hybrid class later tests positive, all students who were in the classroom that day will be notified that they were in the same area as someone who later tested positive -- even though they may not have had close contact with that person. Similarly, the study-space reservation system will allow us to contact everyone who was in the same general area as an individual who later tested positive, even if they were not near enough for long enough to pose a significant risk. Such notifications will not reveal the identity of the individual who has tested positive. Faculty and staff will receive similar notifications separately.
We have designed a class attendance system, a space reservation system, and seat-specific QR-code registration system specifically to enable the first two forms of notification. It is therefore very important when students are at study-space or classroom seats with QR codes, that they use them to register with their phones.
Lastly, the Law Center will be sending out a weekly email to the entire community with the total number of positive cases in the previous week amongst students, faculty, and staff who were on campus.
I hope you are all well, and that everyone has a wonderful second week of the semester.