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 9, 2020 - 6:15 p.m.
Originally sent July 8, 2020
Dear Members of the Southwestern Community,
A Southwestern contract employee tested positive for COVID-19 today. The person was last on campus today and was sent home immediately to isolate in accordance with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health protocols. While on campus, the person practiced social distancing and wore a face covering. Due to privacy concerns, Southwestern will not be releasing the name of this individual.
Southwestern, under the guidance of public health protocols, conducted a review to identify any individuals on campus who may have been in close contact with this person. After that review, it was determined that the infected individual did not come into close contact with anyone on campus.
Southwestern has identified the areas in which the person worked and the areas have been cleaned and disinfected. This extra cleaning and disinfecting was conducted in addition to the regular cleaning and disinfecting that occur daily on campus.
It is imperative that we all remain vigilant in our collective efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy. All of us should follow the guidance of our public health officials by wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, conducting good hygiene practices such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing our hands, and avoid touching our faces.
6/30/20 - Update on Campus Reopening & Fall Classes
Dear Southwestern Students,
We hope you are doing well, staying healthy and safe, and enjoying the summer as much as possible.
We’re writing with an update on our plans for reopening our campus and delivering instruction this fall.
Before doing so, though, we want to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for your patience in awaiting word from us about these matters. Thank you for your strength and diligence in continuing with your studies and other professional pursuits under the cloud of stress and uncertainty created by the COVID pandemic and its associated challenges. Finally, thank you for continuing to support one another and the school so well during this difficult time. We are incredibly grateful to have such a mature, hard-working, and compassionate group of students at Southwestern.
Now for the update.
Our Philosophy: Health & Safety First
When it comes to reopening our campus and holding fall classes, we place an absolute priority on protecting the health and safety of our community. Of course, we want to return to on-campus classes and other activities as soon as reasonably possible. But we will not do so in any way that we believe poses an unacceptably high risk of COVID exposure to our students, staff, or faculty.
We have a relatively small campus with two academic buildings. Our classrooms can be accessed only by using a limited number of elevators or stairwells. In the classrooms themselves, seats tend to be positioned closely together. Our campus has only six classrooms that can accommodate a class of 30 or more students while maintaining six feet of physical distancing between all occupants. These and other physical features of our campus pose special challenges when it comes to complying with the physical distancing, ventilation, sanitization, and other precautions necessary to manage exposure risks for a student body of more than 700.
Campus Reopening: Not Just Yet
Regrettably, we are still prohibited by law from opening the Southwestern campus to students. Since the City and County of Los Angeles issued its Safer at Home Order in March, all college and university campuses in the City and County have been required by law to be closed to all individuals except those school employees necessary to maintain distance learning. Although some types of businesses have been allowed to reopen, colleges and universities have not yet been permitted to do so. Further, the recent increase in new COVID cases and COVID-related hospitalizations in Southern California and elsewhere does unfortunately introduce new uncertainty about whether colleges and universities will be able to reopen as soon as we had all been hoping.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 103,529* total cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Los Angeles County, including cases reported by Long Beach and Pasadena Health Departments.
*Cases through 8:00pm 06/29/2020
Safer at Home
Learn about the new "Safer at Home" Health Officer Order
Information presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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.)
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
At this time, testing is limited in Los Angeles. We are working to expand testing as quickly as possible to provide this service to all Angelenos who need it.
For the moment, these tests are strictly limited to residents of Los Angeles who are in the most high-risk categories and most vulnerable.
Individuals eligible for testing at this time include:
- Those with symptoms who are 65 and older
- Those with symptoms who have underlying chronic health conditions
- Those who are subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine period due to a confirmed COVID-19 exposure (with more than 7 days of quarantine remaining)
For more questions about testing, please visit our FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions.
Find out if you're eligible for a test by clicking here.