Update for Fall Term - Law Students

To: W&L Law Students
From: Trenya Mason, Assistant Dean of Law Student Affairs
Date: Friday, October 16

Below is this week's update on the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please remember to check the COVID-19 Resources website for the latest campus messages and resources, and to submit your questions to covid19@wlu.edu.

Thank you to those members of the law school community who were able to join us for Monday evening's town hall session. Members of the COVID-19 Committee will make themselves available at other points in the remainder of the term to continue their dialogue with students and field additional questions. This week's update features information about several topics that were raised during the town hall.

More Law Students Being Added to Weekly Surveillance Testing

The university conducts COVID-19 surveillance testing using several strategies. If there are clusters of cases in particular areas of campus, people who have spent time in these areas are asked to be tested. Other students and employees are selected to participate in surveillance testing based on their being in a designated higher-risk group or facility, and/or testing a random population sample, regardless of symptoms.

We recently expanded our weekly on-campus clinics to test up to 400 students and employees each week, which includes 50 law students per week. We are currently working to expand the overall number of surveillance tests performed each week even further, which will also increase the number of law students included in the weekly testing. We will provide additional detailed information on the expanded testing next week.

Law School COVID-19 Conduct Matters

We've received a number of questions about the types of COVID-19 related conduct violations that are occurring and the types of sanctions that have been given in the law school. The few law school-related violations have varied, from not wearing masks or properly distancing, to gatherings that exceeded the current size limits. Similarly, sanctions have varied from educational opportunities to warnings, fines, and conduct probation.

Increase in Approved Social Gathering Sizes

On Monday, the COVID-19 Committee informed the W&L community about an encouraging change in the university's COVID-19 Environment Level and the easing of several restrictions, including the return of social gathering sizes to the previous limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with the current face coverings and physical distancing requirements remaining in place and enforced. Students are encouraged to find safe, fun ways to enjoy the outdoors while being mindful of gathering size requirements.

More Mental Health Services Available Online and By Phone

The University Counseling website was recently updated with information about additional online and phone mental health support and therapy options. Our Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) with United Healthcare Student Resources (UHSR) offers telebehavioral health services to all students through HealthiestYou. More information is available on the W&L SHIP website, www.firststudent.com (select Washington and Lee from the dropdown menu to access our plan resources).

All students are welcomed and encouraged to reach out to W&L's resources, but it is understood some students may prefer to seek treatment outside the SHC and Counseling Center. Several of the online therapy services recently added to the University Counseling website are independent entities, and are not endorsed or provided by W&L. Please check with your health insurance provider first to confirm the services from these independent entities are available to you through your plan. The university cannot attest to the professional skills of the therapists employed, but list these options for students who prefer to seek treatment through resources outside of W&L Student Health and Counseling services.

The Virginia Judges & Lawyers Assistance Program also offers tailored counseling services and support groups to law students who are suffering from mental health disorders and addiction. Their services are 100% free, confidential and non-disciplinary. Feel free to call 804-644-3212 to speak to someone.

Get Your Seasonal Flu Shot

If you did not get an opportunity to attend one of the flu shot clinics on campus, flu vaccinations are also available at the Student Health Center by appointment any time 24/7 (except 12-1 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. daily). Please call ahead for a nurse appointment as there no walk ins for flu shots at the SHC.

In addition, Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, Rockbridge County and the Cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, is offering a free drive-through flu shot clinic on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Registration is not required. Contact Holly Ostby (540-458-3595 or haostby@carilionclinic.org) at Carilion with questions.