Dear Brooklyn Law School Community:
We have learned of seven positive cases of COVID-19 among members of our community since my message two weeks ago on September 3. The NYC Department of Health and all known contacts have been notified. From now on, you can track all known cases of COVID-19 in our community by checking the “COVID-19 Test Reporting” tab on the Coronavirus Information page of the BLS website. Because that resource provides detailed information about known cases, I will no longer share information about individual positive cases in these community messages, but will only report any major trends or changes in policy.
To provide some very important context, while a handful of students have contracted COVID-19 this semester, they have not contracted it in class, nor have they transmitted it in class. So far this year, there has been no evidence of any transmission of COVID-19 from one person to another in our classrooms, or on campus more broadly.
I know many of us remain anxious about the risks of COVID, and news of multiple individual cases arising may only elevate that anxiety and the sense of a threat of exposure. But our experience so far has actually borne out the understanding that the risk of in-class transmission is low, and the few cases that have arisen have not led to serious illness. Minimizing (though not absolutely eliminating) cases, and avoiding serious cases, are what universal vaccination is meant to achieve, and we should recognize that such is probably the best we can expect with regard to COVID-19 as a general matter in our lives for the foreseeable future.
The administration is remaining vigilant and continuously evaluating whether our protocols are keeping our community sufficiently protected. If we become aware of any significant risk of transmission in our classes or on our campus, or come to believe that the general public-health situation in New York City or at Brooklyn Law School is changing, we will re-evaluate whether switching to remote classes is justified. However, currently, our experience indicates that vaccination, masking, and our ventilation system are protecting our students at school.
While we have managed to avoid transmission at school, we also all need to do our part to avoid exposure outside of school. Wear a mask indoors when among others. Avoid indoor settings where others are unmasked, may be unvaccinated, or both.
We have had only three full days of classes (and two Friday schedules) in the last two weeks. As we return to a more regular schedule next week, please remember the following:
- Do not come to school if you feel sick. As my September 3 message emphasized, you should not be concerned about whether absences will be excused. Your well-being, and that of others, should be your paramount concern.
- Wear a mask indoors at all times at BLS. Wearing it under your chin does not count. Your nose and mouth should be fully covered.
All best, be well, and thanks for doing your part to keep our community safe and healthy.
Michael T. Cahill (he/him)
President, Joseph Crea Dean & Professor of Law