As we look forward to the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, I want to assure each of you that our staff and faculty have dedicated their summer to creating health and safety policies, designing course curricula, and securing experiential learning and pro bono opportunities to ensure that we can provide you with an exemplary law school experience, regardless of modality.
As President Fry noted in his August 6 email, I am writing to provide further details on the requirements you must meet before returning to campus, what your experience will be like in the law school building if you plan to be on campus, and how we planned and created of our hybrid fall experience.
Most of Drexel University is on a quarter system, which begins in late September. Because the law school starts much earlier, we are adhering to different pre-testing requirements than those you read about in President Fry’s email yesterday.
All law students who will be on campus this fall will be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to beginning the fall semester. We will then require you to take a follow up test in September using the University-supplied testing kits described in President Fry’s email.
- As I have previously explained in an email as well as the recent virtual townhall meeting, you must take a COVID-19 test prior to coming to campus to begin your fall semester. You are required to obtain results from this test within 10 days of your return to campus. For example, if you are starting on campus on August 19, your test result must be from no earlier than August 9.
- In terms of securing the test, we suggest that you ask your doctor to provide an order for you to get a COVID-19 test and explain that the university is requiring testing before you can return to campus, which is a high-risk environment. Alternatively, you can explore the testing offered through CVS, Rite Aid or Pixel (LabCorp’s mail-in COVID-19 test). You need not have symptoms to obtain a test; you must only state that you will be in a special setting where the risk of transmission may be higher.
- Once you have received your test result you will need to report the result to the university—regardless of whether the result is negative or positive. The reporting will be done through REDCap, a secure, privacy-compliant record database that is maintained and administered by Drexel University College of Medicine. Within the next several days you will receive an email invitation to complete a survey in order to report your COVID-19 test result. Through the survey link, you will be asked for your date of birth, the date of your COVID-19 test, and to upload digital copies of your COVID-19 test results. (If you receive hardcopies of your test results, pictures of the results should be acceptable as long as the result can be read.) In anticipation of this email, you must check both your Drexel.edu email accounts as well as any personal email addresses that you have provided to the law school for Drexel communication (particularly for those students who do not yet have or recently obtained Drexel.edu accounts).
The COVID-19 test should be covered by your medical insurance or by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Uninsured Program. If for some reason your insurance does not cover your test and you have to pay for it, please send an email with full documentation to Dean Filler at email@example.com, and we’ll help you get reimbursement.
Self-Quarantine Prior to Return
The University is requiring any student who is coming to Pennsylvania from a state designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as a recommended quarantine state (see list of states here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx) to quarantine for 14 days, either before returning to Pennsylvania or upon return to Pennsylvania and before the student’s expected return to campus. (If needed, a student can break quarantine to obtain the required COVID-19 test mentioned above; however, they should then return to quarantine.)
Please note that for students who fall into this category and who are returning to campus during the week of August 17, their quarantine should have begun on or around August 6.
Drexel Health Tracker App
All students must download the Drexel Health Tracker app. Use of the app should begin on the first day of your self-quarantine in order to track your medical symptoms for the duration of your isolation. After self-quarantine, the app must be used on a daily basis to “check in” and record any symptoms. Tracking your symptoms is the best way to know if you should stay home from work or classes, get the help you may need and protect your health and the health of those around you.
Please note that if you do not have a smartphone or if you cannot download the app, the University is developing a web-based symptom reporting system. Information on this system will be communicated as soon as it becomes available.
Complete Training and Sign Pledge
No later than Wednesday, August 12, at 5 p.m. EDT, every student—including those who will be entirely remote this semester—must complete an online training and must review, sign, and submit the Dragon Pledge. You can access the training and the pledge via your DrexelOne checklist or through Blackboard.
Student To Do List
- Testing: you must have a negative COVID-19 test result within 10 days of your first arrival on campus.
- Test results: all students must submit their test results to the University via the REDCap survey, a link to which you will receive via email.
- Self-Quarantine: any student coming to Pennsylvania from a state designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as a recommended quarantine state (see https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx) must quarantine for 14 days, either before returning to Pennsylvania or upon return to Pennsylvania and before the student’s expected return to campus.
- Download Drexel Health Tracker app: All students must download and begin using the app on the first day of their self-quarantine in order to track their medical symptoms for the duration of their isolation. After self-quarantine, the app must be used on a daily basis to “check in” and record any symptoms.
- No later than Wednesday, August 12, at 5 p.m. EDT, every student is required to complete an online return to campus training and must review, sign and submit the Dragon Pledge. You can access the training and the pledge via your DrexelOne checklist or through Blackboard.
Expectations While in the Law School Buildings
For any of you who missed it, here is a recap of some information that was discussed during the townhall I hosted last week.
- Masks must be worn at all times while in the law school buildings.
- Social distancing must be practiced at all times both on and off campus.
- Students must adhere to capacity limits on classrooms and shared spaces including elevators, lounges, offices, common spaces, etc.
- Study spaces will be available in the 2nd and 3rd floor lounges as well as the LRC by reservation through a system called LibCal. The reservation system will be live on the LRC website beginning August 17.
- No eating will be allowed anywhere in the law school buildings. There are no exceptions.
- The hallways, stairwells, and ingress/egress points at 3320 Market Street will be clearly marked. There will be single-direction traffic flow (going clockwise) throughout the building.
- Room capacity limits will be clearly marked.
- The law school courtyard will be available to students for outdoor use, with a capacity limit of 18 people. The caveat is that this space is not reserved solely for the law school; rather, it is available to anyone with a DragonCard.
- Your DragonCard will be required to access any campus building. For the main law building at 3320 Market Street:
- When a guard is on duty, the ADA-compliant door (located adjacent to the revolving door) will be used for ingress only, and the revolving door will be used for egress.
- When the guard is off duty, the ADA-compliant door will serve as both ingress and egress. Social distancing must be observed, because this door will be both an ingress and an egress during these times.
Our Fall Hybrid Experience
Almost one third of our fall classes will be offered face to face this fall, with the remainder being offered remotely. This balance between remote and face-to-face courses has been calibrated based on several considerations, including the health and safety of the entire law school community, the availability of faculty to teach in either modality, the desire expressed by many of you for some face-to-face classes to be offered, and how we could provide you with the most meaningful law school experience possible. In addition to these considerations, we are operating within the considerable limitations on classroom capacity and building density. Despite these constraints, we have created a hybrid experience that ensures first-year law students are given the solid foundation they need at the beginning of their legal education, while upper-level students continue to receive the support and resources needed to flourish in their studies.
For our entering 1Ls, Torts and Contracts will be offered as both face-to-face and remote courses. Given the number of students in the incoming class, eight faculty members will be devoting much of their time to teaching these two courses across seven sections and both modalities. The course schedules have been designed so that all 1L face-to-face courses will take place on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
While our 2L and 3L students have the advantage of being more familiar with Kline’s community and resources as well as the law school experience generally, we wanted to ensure that our hybrid experience provided all upper-level students the continued opportunity for face-to-face engagement if they choose, subject to limitations on classroom capacity and faculty availability. To that end, we are offering several smaller courses and seminars in person, which will largely be taught in the late afternoon and early evenings after 1L face-to-face courses have concluded for the day. This scheduling also allows us to maintain the flow of students in the building in a way that helps us manage the density of people in the building in support of health and safety requirements.
Academic and Administrative Support
Facing the challenge of creating a hybrid experience that meets the unique needs of all of our students depends on the continued support by our exceptional academic and administrative resources, including our offices of student affairs, career strategies, experiential learning, and our Legal Research Center (LRC). Specific details with the operational modes and hours for each office will be available online by the start of the semester. Rest assured that, regardless of modality, you will continue to have access to all our academic and student life resources.
I know for some of you this email and all the information it contains may be overwhelming. I want to assure each of you that every policy and requirement has been carefully considered, and I feel confident that through our individual and collective efforts we will have a successful and enriching fall semester.
Senior Associate Dean of Students and Administration