A Message from Dean Darby re: Thanksgiving Break/Remote Classes/Winter Break/Returning for Spring 2022

originally sent Thursday, September 16, 2021

Dear Southwestern Law Community: 

I want to thank each of you for doing your part to help keep our community safe during the current challenges presented by the COVID-19 Delta variant. Although COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles have decreased, the Delta variant remains a challenge across the country. Based on the course of the pandemic so far, we anticipate seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the late fall and early winter months, and we know that many of our community members plan to travel domestically or internationally over Thanksgiving break.  

This is a long email. But please read on. After the introduction, there's a table of contents. The testing section impacts everyone, so please focus on that section. Because of the number of dates mentioned below, I've attached a separate document that lists all dates and associated items in chronological order. 

To help protect the Southwestern community, and out of an abundance of caution, we will deliver all fall classes and most services remotely after Thanksgiving. With the possible exception of one intersession class, classes and services will continue to be delivered remotely through the January Intersession. On-campus classes will resume on January 10. We will be communicating in the coming weeks about remote options for Spring 2022. 

In addition, because we anticipate that even more individuals will be traveling over the Winter Break, we are implementing a requirement that each person—students, faculty, and staff—regardless of vaccination status, be tested through Nobility Health before returning to campus in January.  

More specifically:  

  1. For SCALE I students in Period 3, remote instruction will begin on November 22, on the usual days and times. 
  2. Campus will be closed for Thanksgiving starting at 1 p.m. on November 24 through November 26. On November 24, services (including Library services) will be offered remotely through 1 p.m. 
  3. For traditional full-time students, day and evening part-time students, and SCALE II students, all classes will be taught remotely via Zoom on the usual days and times starting November 29.  
  4. Classes will continue to meet via Zoom on the usual days and times through December 2 (for traditional classes) and December 17 (for SCALE).  
  5. Final exams for all programs will be administered remotely, although we still plan to allow students who do not have an adequate testing location at home, who select to handwrite their examinations, and who have certain approved accommodations to test on campus if they register with the Dean of Students Office. Watch for separate emails about final examinations and on-campus testing options. You may take your remote examinations outside of Los Angeles, but all exams will be administered in the Pacific time zone.
  6. Campus will be on a hard close for the Winter Break, and services will not be offered on campus or remotely, from December 18, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Remote services will resume on January 3, and campus facilities like the Library, Westmoreland 24-hour area, Bookstore, and Tea Room will reopen on January 3.
  7. The January Intersession, January 3–7, 2022, will be offered remotely (and not in HyFlex format). We are waiting to hear about the format of one intersession class and will alert impacted students if the professors will be teaching on campus. 
  8. Each student, faculty member (full-time and adjunct), and staff member must test with Nobility Health and receive a negative test result before returning to campus in January 2022. 
  9. On-campus classes and services will resume on January 10, 2022. 

Pre-Thanksgiving Classes: Students, please attend classes in person until the dates noted above, unless you have been approved for a semester-long remote option or need to use the temporary option for one of the following reasons:  (1) testing positive for COVID, flu, or another contagious disease; (2) exposure/suspected exposure to COVID; (3) feeling ill or experiencing (even mildly) COVID or flu symptoms; or (4) intermittent caretaker responsibilities for vulnerable individuals. When you write your professor about using a temporary remote option, please indicate that you meet one of these four reasons (although you do not need to say which one). If you do not include this statement in your email to the professor, the professor is permitted to ask whether your absence is covered by at least one of the four approved reasons above.

The following topics are addressed below: 

  • Clinics and Externships (After Thanksgiving) 
  • Staff―Optional Remote Work, November–January 
  • Reporting Positive COVID-19 Tests and COVID-19 Exposures 
  • COVID-19 Testing through December and Required Testing for the Entire Community When Campus Re-Opens in January 
  • Library 
  • Westmoreland Building 24-Hour Space 
  • Counseling Services 
  • Bookstore and Print Shop 
  • Tea Room 
  • Other Services 
  • Parking 

Clinics and Externships (After Thanksgiving) 

  • For questions related to a legal clinic, contact your Clinic professor or Associate Dean Julie Waterstone at jwaterstone@swlaw.edu
  • If not already remote, your externship fieldwork between November 29 and December 2 (end of externship fieldwork) can be remote. For questions related to externships, contact Associate Director Mitzie Vitela at mvitela@swlaw.edu

Staff―Optional Remote Work, November–January 

Other than those who work in the Library, staff will have the option to work remotely from on November 24, from November 29 through December 17, and from January 3 through 7. Campus will be closed for the Winter Break from December 18 through January 2.  

Please note that your supervisor has the discretion to direct you to perform necessary tasks on campus during these periods.   

Reporting Positive COVID-19 Tests and COVID-19 Exposures 

During all periods, including the Winter Break, all members of the Southwestern community are required to continue reporting to Southwestern if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19 by immediately calling Security at 213.738.5793 and emailing covidmanager@swlaw.eduThe notification requirement applies to all community members, including individuals who have been approved for remote work or study. 

COVID-19 Testing through December and Required Testing for the Entire Community When Campus Re-Opens in January 

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals 

Nobility Health will continue to perform COVID-19 testing on our campus on Tuesdays and Fridays through Tuesday, December 14. All unvaccinated (and partially vaccinated) students, faculty, and staff who come onto the Southwestern campus are required to test twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays with Nobility Health through December 14. 

Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated students are encouraged to email their post-Thanksgiving plans to access campus (or not access campus) to covidmanager@swlaw.edu so we can adjust our records accordingly.

Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated students, faculty, and staff are not required to test between December 15 and January 3.  

Nobility Health will return to the regular Tuesday/Friday on-campus testing schedule as of January 4. Nobility’s off-site centers will be open for regular business hours beginning on Monday, January 3. All unvaccinated/partially vaccinated individuals must resume twice-weekly with Nobility Health starting on Tuesday, January 4—followed by the second test for that week on Friday, January 7. 

Fully vaccinated individuals 

Every student, faculty member (full-time and adjunct), and staff member―regardless of vaccination status―must test with Nobility Health and receive a negative test result before returning to campus for the Spring 2022 semester.  

All vaccinated individuals must test with Nobility Health on Tuesday, January 4, or Wednesday, January 5, so that we have sufficient time to receive and process your test results. Nobility will offer on-campus testing on both days. You may also test at one of Nobility’s off-campus locations. We will send additional reminders and information in December and January about this mandatory testing requirement. 

For questions related to testing and COVID-19 compliance, including how to proceed if you will not be in Los Angeles again until after January 5, please contact Vivien Lewis, COVID Compliance Manager, at covidmanager@swlaw.edu


Library hours will be updated by November 1 to reflect the remote period from November 24–December 17. At this point, we have decided that the Library will be closed from November 24 (although remote services will be provided until 1 p.m.) through November 26 for Thanksgiving. It also will be closed from December 18 through January 2 for Winter Break and will reopen on January 3. We will provide January hours in mid-December. 

Westmoreland Building 24-Hour Space 

The 24-hour space in the Westmoreland Building will remain open through December 17 (with the exception of November 25 and 26 for Thanksgiving). The space will be closed from December 18 through January 2 and will reopen on January 3. 

Counseling Services 

Counseling Services will remain available to all students through December 17. Counseling services will resume on January 10. To schedule a free and confidential counseling appointment with a licensed psychotherapist and professional psychologist, please contact Dr. Spino directly at 213.738.6617 or dspino@swlaw.edu

Bookstore and Print Shop 

The Southwestern Bookstore and the Print Shop will close at 1 p.m on November 24. They will then be open during normal hours (Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m.– 2 p.m.) through December 17. They will be closed starting December 18 and will re-open on January 3. 

Tea Room 

Except for November 24 through November 26, the Southwestern Tea Room will remain open during normal hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m.) through December 17. It will be closed starting December 18 and will re-open on January 10. 

Other Campus Services 

The following campus services will be available remotely on November 24 (until 1 p.m.) and remotely during normal business hours (Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Friday  9 a.m.–4 p.m.) through December 17 and again as of January 3. Offices will re-open on campus on January 10. 


Southwestern will refund parking on a pro-rated basis for students who will not be returning to campus after the Thanksgiving break. Students accessing campus will be required to have parking or to pay the daily rate fee. To request a refund, please email parking@swlaw.edu no later than Monday, November 22.  

Thank you again for doing your part to help keep the community safe. If you have specific questions, please reach out.   


Darby Dickerson (she/her)
President & Dean