I hope you are enjoying the summer. We are looking forward to the start of school and, for the first time since March, opening our doors for classes.
I am writing to share some very important information about the return to campus and how we will help create as safe an environment as possible by ensuring that people are healthy when they come to school and by modifying our facility and procedures to mitigate risk. Every member of the community will enter into the Ram Pledge, a compact that formalizes our shared commitment to health and safety.
For those of you who will be in the Law School building this fall, it is critical that we work together to ensure the health and safety of our community. We must each do our part to protect ourselves and each other.
As Father McShane indicated in his July 20 email, all students, faculty, and staff are required to be tested for COVID-19 within the 7-day period before coming to campus and entering the Law School building or any other Fordham building.
There are two ways to satisfy this requirement:
1. You are encouraged to get tested at home, at a site of your choosing (find a nearby testing site) within 7 days before coming to campus. You must submit proof of testing and clearance, i.e., a negative test result. Please go to the health portal at my.fordham.edu to submit test results. If you test positive, you will not be allowed to enter the Law School building or any other Fordham building until you are no longer symptomatic and you have been cleared to return by a physician.
2. You can be tested through the University on campus at Lincoln Center and Rose Hill. You are allowed to come to campus for the limited purpose of getting tested and then cannot return to campus until you have received results. Please note that although the University has arranged for testing through a private provider and should be able to get results more quickly than public testing sites, there may be delays in obtaining results. For this reason, we recommend getting tested early in the 7-day period. The University is developing a sign-up system for scheduling testing appointments. We will let you know when it is available.
In the spring, New York was the center of virus activity, but the state’s strict lockdown and the community’s compliance has drastically reduced the infection rate in our state and city. New York is reopening gradually and cautiously to prevent a resurgence and has instituted a quarantine requirement for individuals entering from states with significant community spread of the virus. New York State requires all individuals entering New York from restricted states and other countries to self-quarantine for 14 days. This mandatory quarantine applies to everyone, including those who have tested negative for COVID-19. For more information on New York State’s quarantine requirement, please read the state’s FAQ.
Given the testing requirements noted above, all students coming from restricted states and other countries should plan adequate time both to quarantine and to get tested. Students coming from these states and other countries will need to quarantine for 14 days. After the quarantine period is completed, students will, as described above, need to get tested, either off-site or at Fordham within the 7-day period before coming into the Law School or any other Fordham building. As noted above, please allow time to receive your test results. The first day of in-person orientation is August 20. For returning students, the first day of classes is August 26.
If you are a student entering from a restricted state or another country and are planning to live in University housing, we do not yet know whether you will be able to quarantine in Fordham housing. We will provide information as soon as it is available, but we suggest that you make alternative plans for quarantining.
If you are unable to attend orientation in person due to quarantine or testing requirements, please contact Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Kimathi Gordon-Somers at email@example.com (J.D. students) or Assistant Dean Toni Jaeger-Fine at firstname.lastname@example.org (L.L.M., M.S.L., or S.J.D. students) as soon as possible, and we will place you in all-online orientation sessions.
A Safe Return to Campus
The health and safety of Fordham’s students, faculty, and staff remain the highest priority in our reopening plans. We have developed a series of health protocols to mitigate risk and promote the safety of the learning environment. These protocols include:
● Hazard elimination, which is aimed at eliminating risk via testing, robust screening, and contact tracing to ensure that people carrying the virus and their close contacts do not come to campus. As part of this process, you will be expected to participate in a daily VitalCheck screening.
● Personnel substitution, which focuses on limiting the number of students, faculty, and staff in the building and accommodating vulnerable populations.
● Engineering controls, such as improvements to HVAC systems and air circulation, to mitigate risk.
● Administrative controls, which help protect our community with behavioral changes that promote social distancing and reshape the way we work and study.
● Personal protective equipment, such as face coverings, which will be provided to students as a critical component of risk mitigation. Everyone in the building will be required to wear a face-covering at all times, except in areas designated for eating.
For more information about the steps the University is taking to promote health and safety, please see Fordham Forward.
The Ram Pledge
Making Fordham Law School safe is a shared commitment, and so we are requiring every member of our community to agree to the Ram Pledge, which demonstrates that we are all working together to protect one another from COVID-19.
As a member of the Fordham community:
● I will wear a face covering at all times on the Fordham campus, both indoors and outdoors, and when taking part in University activities off-campus;
● I will wash my hands frequently and thoroughly (for 20 seconds, minimum), especially after contact with surfaces and items in public areas, after eating, coughing, sneezing, or wiping one’s nose;
● I will self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and complete daily VitalCheck screenings;
● I will follow the directions of University officials regarding testing, screening, and quarantine (if necessary), and cooperate with the University’s contact tracing efforts, if called upon to do so;
● I will act in the spirit of people for others, knowing that I am helping to protect the campus community from illness.
All students who will come into the Law School building must sign the Ram Pledge prior to entering the building. Failure to adhere to it will be considered a violation of the code of student conduct. Please click below to sign.
We know you have many questions, and we will do our very best to answer them. You may submit a question here. After collecting your questions we will schedule a town hall.
Thank you for your patience and your commitment to keeping our community safe. I look forward to staying in contact as we approach the fall semester.
Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law