Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Image - CDC CoronaVirus
Photo credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

Check here for official messages and status updates from Southwestern Law School. 

The most recent updates and information will appear just below.  Prior communications are archived under "Community Announcements" in the sidebar.

UPDATE: July 23, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.

originally sent July 22, 2021

7/22/21 - TIME-SENSITIVE INFORMATION Regarding a Semester-Long Remote Option for Students (Aug. 3 Deadline)

Dear Southwestern Students, 

I hope you are doing well!  

At yesterday’s two Town Hall sessions, we shared several decisions regarding the Fall 2021 semester and some inclinations about which we are still gathering input. A copy of the slide deck and recordings from both July 21 town halls are available on the Student Affairs Canvas page, which can be found here

One inclination is that we will start the semester in person. We are still gathering input and research on this point and hope to announce a decision in coming days. But we hope that we can start in person or at least offer in-person instruction during a significant part of the semester. (Please note that SCALE II Period 5 courses that start on August 2 will be remote for the first two weeks.) 

Semester-Long Remote Option and August 3 Deadline to Apply

Given this inclination, we have decided to offer a semester-long remote option to students with the following qualifying circumstances: 

  • Individuals with a personal medical reason that would make it unsafe for them to attend in-person classes (e.g., immunocompromised); 
  • Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding; 
  • PLEAS students; 
  • Caregivers for vulnerable individuals (e.g., children under 12; immunocompromised individuals who cannot be vaccinated); and 
  • Unvaccinated individuals, with a Southwestern-approved medical or religious exemption, who are not comfortable coming to campus for a health-related reason. We will provide decisions about religious exemptions by July 27. Documentation from students who requested a medical exemption were due July 21, and we are reviewing those materials as quickly as we can. 

If you fall into one of these categories and would like to attend Fall 2021 classes online, please complete and submit the Fall 2021 Application for Online Courses by August 3, 2020. The form is located at and also may be found on the Entering Student Canvas page under “Getting Organized” on the Registration Portal Page. The form is short and should take only 5–10 minutes to complete. We need to strictly enforce the August 3 deadline to help faculty plan their approach to having both in-person and remote students. 

We are not offering a general remote option for a variety of reasons, including accreditation standards and the various safety measures the Law School has implemented. However, if you have a COVID-related reason to request semester-long remote learning that is not listed above, please email Vice Deans Dov Waisman and Anahid Gharakhanian by August 3 and describe your circumstances. They will consider your information and determine whether you are eligible to participate in courses remotely. 

Read the full update. 

7/16/21 - Yesterday's L.A. County Announcement

Dear Southwestern Students,

As you may have heard, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced yesterday that it will be issuing a new Health Officer Order providing that, effective Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 pm, everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, will be required to wear a mask at all times when indoors.  This Order comes in response to the seven-fold increase L.A. County has seen in new daily cases of Covid-19 since June 15, an increase thought to be driven in large part by the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.

We are in the process of determining what implications the new County Order and the recent upward trends in the key Covid-19 indicators will have for Southwestern’s plans for fall instruction.  We will be consulting with student leaders and the faculty in the coming days and will have more information to share at next week’s Virtual Town Halls. 

We are certainly mindful of the pedagogical challenges that may be presented by a universal indoors masking requirement.  As always, protecting the health and safety of our community remains our foremost priority.


Dean Darby Dickerson, Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian, and Vice Dean Dov Waisman

originally sent July 6th, 2021

7/6/21 - Confirmed COVID-19 Case

Dear Members of the Southwestern Community,

Today we learned that a Southwestern student in the Residences tested positive for COVID-19. In accordance with county guidelines, Southwestern directed the student to self-isolate in their unit, avoid accessing any common areas, and follow their medical providers' advice. Due to privacy concerns, Southwestern will not be releasing the name of this individual or the location of where the student resides. Under the guidance of public health protocols, Southwestern conducted a review to identify any individuals on campus who may have been in close contact with this person. After that review, Southwestern determined that the infected individual did not come into close contact with anyone on campus.

Our maintenance staff is currently conducting extra cleaning and disinfecting of the high touch areas in the Residences (e.g., elevators, stairwells, restrooms, common areas, etc.) in addition to the ongoing increased cleaning and disinfecting of these areas.

It is imperative that we all remain vigilant in our collective efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy. All of us should follow our public health officials' guidance by wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, conducting good hygiene practices such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing our hands, and avoiding touching our faces.

Additionally, our public health officials strongly recommend everyone over the age of 12 years to get a COVID-19 vaccination to protect themselves and their community. Our current vaccines are safe and are the most effective protection against COVID-19.

Read the full update. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 205* new cases reported and 1,239,280total cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Los Angeles County, including cases reported by Long Beach and Pasadena Health Departments.

*Cases through 5/27/2021

  1. Safer at Home

Stay Informed

Information presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 


  1. What is a coronavirus?

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the current novel coronavirus known as 2019-nCoV. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Some, like the SARS or MERS viruses, cause serious infections like pneumonia.


  2. How are coronaviruses spread?

    Like other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread to others from an infected person who has symptoms through:

    • Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
    • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
    • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

    Novel Coronavirus is new, and we are learning more each day about how easily it spreads and how long it takes for people to become sick. As information becomes available, we will keep you informed.

    Do not assume that someone of Asian descent is likely to have novel coronavirus.


  3. What are the symptoms of Novel Coronavirus?

    Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people becoming severely ill, requiring admission to the hospital, and dying. Symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Severe illness

    If you have traveled from mainland China and develop any of these symptoms within 14 days of your return, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and your recent travel.

    Click image to enlarge


  4. How is novel coronavirus treated?

    There is no specific treatment for illness caused by the novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment is based on the patient’s condition.

    There is currently no vaccine to prevent novel coronavirus. Be aware of scam products for sale that make false claims to prevent or treat this new infection.


  5. What can I do to protect myself and others from respiratory infections like 2019-nCoV?

    As with other respiratory illnesses, there are steps that everyone can take daily to reduce the risk of getting sick or infecting others with circulating viruses. You should:

    • Stay home when you're sick or have flu-like symptoms. If you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, please stay home and do not come to work or class until you are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants). 
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • It's sensible to avoid shaking hands right now to reduce the risk of spreading infection. Though that might be awkward at times, it's an increasingly common practice in hospitals and clinics.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue and clean your hands immediately. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
    • Limit close contact with people who are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes. Southwestern has changed our cleaning of surfaces and access points, etc.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Practice healthy habits (get enough sleep, exercise, liquids, etc.)
    Click image to enlarge


  6. What if I want to be tested?

    If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as severe shortness of breath, contact your physician. If it is an emergency, dial 911.


    Information about COVID-19 Testing from the City of Los Angeles

    Testing is currently available to all residents of L.A. County whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

    Testing is by appointment only and is subject to availability. People with symptoms and front line workers are prioritized to receive same-day or next-day appointments.

    To confirm eligibility and search testing appointment availability, go to

    For more questions about testing, please visit our FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions.