Dear Brooklyn Law School Community,
I write with some updates and reminders as the return of in-person classes on January 31 approaches. Since the end of last semester, the available evidence has been consistent with two positive expectations regarding the Omicron variant, namely that (1) while extremely transmissible, it seems meaningfully less likely to cause severe illness than previous variants; and (2) its progress has followed a sharp rise-and-fall trajectory, with cases very sharply increasing in December and now sharply retreating. While local rates of positive cases remain very high, the 7-day rolling average for NYC has decreased by more than half in the last two weeks, and all indications are that it should continue to drop.
As we prepare to return to campus, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Classes. As stated in earlier messages, barring a significant and sudden change of current trends, we continue to expect a return to fully in-person classes on Monday, January 31. To be completely clear, as was the case last semester, there is no policy allowing students to “opt out” of scheduled in-person classes and take them remotely instead; when in-person classes resume, you are expected to attend (unless you are sick or otherwise excused).
- Boosters. January 31 is also the deadline for submitting documentation of the booster shot for those who are eligible to get one. Note that under current CDC guidelines, eligibility begins 5 months after completing a primary Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series, or 2 months after a primary Johnson & Johnson vaccination. Note also that the booster requirement applies, as the CDC recommends, “regardless of a history of symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection”; those who have recently had covid-19 who are eligible for a booster should get one after isolation and any symptoms end. Many students and employees have uploaded documentation already, but many have not — please make sure to upload your booster information to our site as soon as possible if you have not yet done so. And if you haven’t gotten a booster shot and are eligible, make sure to get one right away!
- Positive cases. We will continue to update our online list of known cases of covid-19 in our community. Because we saw scant evidence of in-class transmission last semester, we will not routinely notify entire classes if one member has tested positive, but we will continue to directly notify known close contacts of those who have tested positive. If you test positive, follow current New York guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine, which state that you should “isolate for at least 5 complete days, with Day 0 being the date your symptoms started or you were tested for covid-19.”
- Masks. Wearing a mask remains required whenever you are indoors with others around. We strongly recommend wearing high-grade (N95, KN95, FFP2, KF94) masks, which growing evidence indicates are more effective than cloth or surgical masks. As noted earlier, reputable sources of N95 and KN95 masks include Bona Fide Masks and Project N95.
Michael T. Cahill (he/him)
President, Joseph Crea Dean & Professor of Law