Dear Brooklyn Law School Community:
As we enter the (extended) holiday weekend, I write with some updates and information:
COVID-19. I am pleased to report that we have had no new cases of COVID-19 since my last update a week ago. To date 98.7% of the members of our on-campus community (students, faculty, and staff) have submitted proof of full vaccination; all others are submitting weekly negative tests until vaccinated.
Storm. Allow me to reiterate my apologies and regrets for the many stresses, burdens, harms, and costs students and others suffered as a result of Wednesday’s storm. A group of students sent me a thorough and thoughtful message last night expressing their concerns, criticisms, and disappointment regarding the school’s response to the storm (or lack thereof). I am arranging a meeting between myself, other administrators, and student representatives to further discuss these issues and ensure we avoid any recurrence of such an experience. I also want to make clear that BLS will reimburse any direct financial costs incurred due to the storm. Please submit your name, receipt(s), and the address to which payment can be sent to Beth Pollastro (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am open to suggestions about what else we can do to make it up to those affected in some way.
Attendance Policy. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify for students our attendance policy, regarding which there has been an unusual amount of anxiety and confusion this year. Under our policy, students may be absent for up to 25% of class sessions, for any reason, unless a professor explicitly states a different policy in her syllabus at the start of the semester. Attendance also does not directly factor into a student’s grade unless the professor states otherwise. In other words, absences below the 25% limit generate no issues or negative consequences of any kind and need not be “excused.” Moreover, students who have absences above the limit for any of various reasons (e.g., due to illness, waiting for the result of a COVID test, or being unable to commute due to weather) may have some of those absences excused to remain within our attendance policy. If you reach (or are approaching) the 25% limit on absences, and accordingly are concerned that you may need to have some absence(s) excused, you should request excused absence(s) by emailing the Dean of Students (email@example.com). Faculty can, and should, excuse absences for religious observance without involving the Dean of Students. Absences due to COVID-19 (or other illness) or weather-related travel issues will be excused. Please do not come to school if you are ill or would otherwise, for any reason, be placing yourself or others at risk. If you need further clarification about the school’s attendance policy, please consult pages 16 and 17 of the Student Handbook.
Please be careful over this long weekend, especially if you are traveling, and avoid any contacts or activities that may expose you to COVID-19. Wear a mask indoors. Stay safe and well. All best wishes for a healthy and satisfying holiday weekend.
Michael T. Cahill (he/him)
President, Joseph Crea Dean & Professor of Law