6/21/21 - Southwestern's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy - Important Reminders & New Information


Admitted Students, check your email for a June 21, 2021, message from Vice Dean Gharakhanian for links to the below-referenced forms.

Dear Prospective Students,

We hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer.  Following up on our May 26 and June 8 communications, we are writing with some important reminders and additional information about Southwestern’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Thank You and Important Reminders: July 2 Deadline

We would like to thank the more than 400 students who have submitted proof of vaccination or a request for an exemption.  We greatly appreciate the responses.

If you are an admitted student and have not yet submitted either a proof of vaccination form or an exemption request form, please do so as soon as possible.  As a reminder, the submission deadline for entering students is July 23 at 12 pm PDT.

All students who timely submit a proof of vaccination or exemption request form will be entered in a raffle to win one of five $100 gift cards to Southwestern’s Bookstore.

Students who do not timely submit either a proof of vaccination form or an exemption request form will not be permitted to register for or attend fall 2021 courses at Southwestern (including courses in SCALE Periods 2 and 5).

More Information About Vaccine Exemption Requests

As noted in our May 26 communication, in response to a request for an exemption, Southwestern will engage in an interactive process to determine whether a request is appropriate and can be granted without posing an undue hardship on Southwestern, or a direct threat to the health or safety of the person making the request or others.

As part of this interactive process, a student requesting a medical exemption will be required to submit a statement, signed by both the student and the student’s licensed medical provider, attesting that COVID-19 vaccines are medically contraindicated for the student. 

A student requesting a religious exemption will be required to submit a signed statement describing the sincerely-held religious beliefs, observances, or practices that prevent the student from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  

Based on the information the student has provided, the Southwestern administration will determine whether to grant the student’s medical or religious exemption request, seeking additional information as necessary.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Southwestern administration will be contacting all students who have submitted medical or religious exemption requests to begin the interactive process described above.  Students who have submitted exemption requests based on personal reasons may be contacted as well.  Please note that Southwestern will keep requests for exemptions and proof of vaccination information confidential and only share this information with those who have a business need to know.  

Conditions Applicable to Students Granted Vaccine Exemptions

Any student who is granted an exemption will be required—as a condition of coming to campus—to wear a mask at all times when present on campus, to undergo frequent (at least weekly) COVID testing at a facility designated by Southwestern, to have tested negative for COVID at the most recent test undergone, and to take any other actions directed by Southwestern in the interests of the health and safety of its community.

As noted in our June 8 communication, Southwestern will not be offering a general option for remote learning this fall (and SCALE Periods 2 and 5).  Students who have been granted an exemption from the vaccine requirement will not be permitted to participate remotely in their classes, with the possible exception of students with qualifying medical circumstances that cannot be addressed in another way. 

As always, if you have any questions related to the above, please direct them to Vice Dean Waisman at dwaisman@swlaw.edu or Vice Dean Gharakhanian at agharakhanian@swlaw.edu.

Thank you for your help in keeping our community safe.


Dean Susan Prager, Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian, & Vice Dean Dov Waisman