The following email was sent to the Law School community on March 15, 2020.
Dear Law School Community:
As some of you have heard through direct communication from me or other senior administrators earlier today, a first-year JD student notified the Dean’s Office this morning that they have tested positive for COVID-19. All of the students who are in the same classes as the student have been notified, as have the faculty whose classes the student attended in the last week. The student, who does not live in the Law School’s residence halls, has been at home with family outside the city since Tuesday and did not begin to develop symptoms until Tuesday night. As of this morning, the student reports to be feeling okay and is in good spirits. We will continue to communicate with and support the student.
Based on the advice of University leadership working on the coronavirus situation (including health experts), we determined that it was appropriate to notify the student’s classmates, teachers whose classes the student had attended in the past week, and the relatively few other members of the NYU Law community who are known to have had direct contact with the student during that time period. Based on the circumstances of the contact and the timing of the student’s symptoms, we have been told that the risk of transmission even to those groups appears to be relatively low. Still, we have advised those who are known to have had direct contact with the student to actively monitor themselves for symptoms through March 24, and we have advised them on additional steps to take if they develop symptoms.
We will continue to take steps to notify the known contacts of every individual in our community whom we know to have tested positive. However, going forward, absent unusual case-specific circumstances warranting a broader notification, we will not necessarily provide community-wide notice of every positive test—as indicated in my email of March 10 advising of the first positive test within our community. I am sending this message now to reconfirm this notice policy.
We continue to urge everyone to follow the guidance of health authorities regarding how to minimize the risk of contracting and communicating the virus. We should not be waiting for known positive tests within our (or any other) community before adopting the protective practices recommended by health authorities. Without regard to known contacts, we should all now be adopting the practices of social distancing and the like, if we haven’t already.
As always, you may write to mail to: email@example.com with any pressing questions. And again, please be sure to follow the guidelines and recommendations of the CDC and state and local health authorities for minimizing the risk of contracting and communicating the virus.
As we work through this challenging time together, I ask you to take care of yourselves and each other. Please continue to take the appropriate precautions, self-monitor, and treat one another with respect and sensitivity.
Trevor W. Morrison
Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law
New York University School of Law