Massachusetts School of Law Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

Remote Portal for Remote Students

Update 08/19 for 1L Students

As we begin the phased repopulation of the campus and resume in-person classes, MSLAW used the guidance and direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local, state, and federal health authorities and medical professionals to arrive at this plan for safe reopening and returning to MSLAW. At any time the situation changes so that it is not sufficiently safe to repopulate the campus, then MSLAW will return to remote learning.

Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Our goal is for students to have the best possible learning experiences safely so that they become skilled advocates and superior contributors to their communities.

As our fall semester begins, there are changes for students returning to campus. The school has undergone numerous physical changes in order to offer a safer environment and is changing traffic patterns and the manner of how some things were done in the past. Every member of the MSLAW community must make a personal commitment to protect the health and safety of our community. Shared sacrifice and commitment to the common good are the cornerstones of our community.

Phased Repopulation of the Campus

MSLAW’S plan is for classes to begin on August 10, the previously announced start of the 2020-21 academic year. Reconvening on campus amid a pandemic, of course, is not entirely free of risk and things may change, but this plan attempts to minimize and mitigate that risk knowing that everyone in our community will join in a shared commitment to community safety. We are hopeful that we can safely resume in-person classes responsibly at that time because of the manner in which
Massachusetts has responded to the Coronavirus, the size of MSLAW’s student body, and the safety measures and behavioral guidelines that we must practice together.

MSLAW’s resumption of in-person courses is contingent both upon authorization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of its statewide plan for re-opening colleges and universities, on the continuing assessments of public health developments in our region, information from the CDC, recommendations of health officials and our assessment of it being reasonably safe to resume in-person classes.

The pandemic is far from over and is likely to continue for this academic year. As developments occur, we will appropriately adjust our course of action, as the situation requires. As we did in the spring, we are prepared to adapt to the events as they occur, including returning to remote learning if that is deemed advisable to protect the safety of our community.

MSLAW will have a 4-day schedule in the fall of 2020. MSLAW will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 8:00 A.M. until 10:45 P.M. and closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for deep cleaning. Cleaners will be in the building cleaning and disinfecting MSLAW throughout the day and evening when MSLAW is open and on weekends when MSLAW will be closed.

We have de-densified all areas of MSLAW. In-person class sizes are reduced by more than half and the number of available seats in each classroom has been drastically limited to ensure physical distancing. Some in person classes will be closed so that no space is used at more than 40% capacity. Social distancing and masks are required for all who choose to return to MSLAW. To reduce unnecessary contact, stairways, hallways, entrances and exits are generally one way. In addition, elevators are limited to two people at a time to allow for social distancing. The number of people in a restroom is limited to three at any given time. No one may enter an office without permission of the occupant and communication should take place with appropriate safety measures in place. Email and phone exchanges are the preferred means of communication.

In order to reduce the number of students in the building at any time, first year students will attend in-person classes at MSLAW on Monday and Wednesday with an asynchronous online class substituting for the traditional first year Friday class.

Upper level students will generally be attending classes on Tuesday and Thursday and have a variety of online offerings. Students will have a variety of options to choose from for classes including traditional in-person classes on Monday through Thursday, numerous online classes, and hybrid classes as well as recording traditional classes for those students who have additional health or safety issues. In the event we are unable to complete in-person classes through December, classes will resume online.

A significant element of this reopening plan is the requirement of a shared written commitment to the protection of each other’s health and well-being articulated in the Community Agreement attached to this plan. This plan requires a personal commitment from every member of the MSLAW community to protect the health and safety of community members by adopting behavioral changes, reporting COVID-19 symptoms, agreeing to protocols for testing, and assisting with contact tracing.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious and potentially deadly virus. It is possible to develop and contract the life-changing COVID-19 virus even if everyone follows all safety precautions. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees of safety but following recommended guidelines serves as a way to decrease the likelihood of the spread of the disease.

Monitoring health conditions to ensure detection of infection

Students attending in-person classes must agree to abide by a set of protocols contained in the Community Agreement including strict physical distancing, symptom reporting, assisting with contact tracing as needed, and subjecting themselves to virus testing where required. In order to ensure detection of potential infections, all students on campus will keep daily track of their temperature and any unusual symptoms, wear a suitable face covering, physically distance, wash their hands with soap and water regularly for 20 seconds, avoid non-recommended social gatherings, use hand sanitizer, and stay home if they experience any unusual
symptoms. Members of the MSLAW community will report any problems to Dean Kaldis and their academic advisor.

MSLAW will not penalize anyone who takes responsible action by staying home to view class online, work, or study in order to avoid exposing others to their symptoms.

A plan for containment to prevent the spread of the disease if detected

In order to prevent the spread of this disease it is fundamental to reduce risk but nothing is risk free in dealing with COVID-19. So while all members of the MSLAW community will try to reduce risk, it is nonetheless necessary for all to participate in testing and contact tracing when requested to preserve community health. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone who has tested positive must:

-Report that exposure to Dean Kaldis and their academic advisor;
-Adhere to isolation and quarantine instructions;
-Assist with contact tracing efforts;
-Assist with contact tracing to identify exposed individuals; and
-Provide MSLAW with negative test results or a doctor’s note that it is now safe to return to campus before returning to campus.

Upon notification that anyone on campus has tested positive for COVID-19
MSLAW will:

-Obtain contact tracing information from the infected member of MSLAW’s
community.
-Review its records to assist in contact tracing efforts.
-Close off areas used by infected person and not use these areas until after thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
-After 24 hours, clean and disinfect all contacted areas used by the ill person (e.g., classrooms, offices, bathrooms, and common areas) using the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
-Conduct contact tracing to identify individuals in contact with the infected member of MSLAW’s community. Using guidance from public health officials and the CDC, notify all individuals who were in close proximity to the infected individual.Notification will be done without revealing any confidential medical informationsuch as the name of the individual. Those in close proximity to the infected individual are required to stay home for 14 days to ensure the infection does not spread. While quarantined, individuals should continue to self-monitor for symptoms, avoid contact with high-risk individuals, and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.
-Try to determine if the positive COVID-19 case likely occurred from exposure on campus or elsewhere, investigate reducing further risks, and implement additional safeguards.
-Notify health officials in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the ADA, FERPA or and other applicable laws and regulations.
-Upon examination of the facts and information pertaining to the reporting of a COVID-19 infection, cluster, or outbreak or upon advice from public health officials or others that it is advisable that MSLAW not remain open to the public, MSLAW will close the building to all and not reopen until it is safe to do so. Staff will work from home and students will study remotely.

Scaling back operations if necessary

MSLAW’s resumption of in-person courses is contingent both upon authorization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of its statewide plan for re-opening colleges and universities, on the continuing assessments of public health developments in our region, CDC guidelines, recommendations of health officials and MSLAW’s assessment of it being reasonably safe to resume in-person classes.

The pandemic is far from over and it will continue for this next academic year. As developments occur, we will appropriately adjust our operating hours, manner of operations, and plans, to those developments. As we did in the spring semester, we are prepared to adapt to the events as they occur, including returning to remote learning for some portion of the semester, or for completion of the semester, if that is deemed advisable to protect the safety of our community.

MSLAW is prepared to adapt rapidly and effectively as required by the evolving public-health situation. MSLAW will be transparent and forthcoming in communicating our plans and the reasoning behind them. MSLAW will notify students and staff through MSLAW’s emergency notification system as well as through email of any necessary safety changes.

Fall 2020 Registration Documents
The below documents should be signed and returned to the Registrar’s Office at Registration August 3-6th.
Fall 2020 Class Registration Course Attendance
Fall 2020 Letter to MSL Community
Fall 2020 Registration Form
Fall 2020 Community Agreement