Dear Returning Students,

As you know, classes begin on Monday, August 17. Although we will undoubtedly face challenges this fall, we are eagerly looking forward to the start of the semester. We hope that your studies will be engaging and that we all find ways to connect with our amazing community through organized events and informal interactions.
  1. Mandatory COVID-19 Rapid Testing on Campus—Friday, August 14. All returning law students who are taking in-person classes or plan to be on the Bloomington campus must participate in the (not-too-invasive) nasal swab rapid COVID-19 antigen testing at the Athletics Complex on August 14 from 8:00 am-4:00 pm.  (Some students dealing with 1Ls may have already taken the test on Tuesday, August 11).
You must have a negative COVID-19 test from IU to enter any of the Law School buildings.  You cannot take classes in-person without a negative result from the university test.

This IU test is mandatory, even if you have been tested elsewhere. Please bring identification and your IU user name.
  • The process is designed to take about 30 minutes, but bring a book, and if the weather forecast is correct, an umbrella.  
  • The line will move more quickly for those in cars than those on foot. University staff will be on site to assist you throughout the process.
  • During hours of testing, students may also text 812-369-MYIU (6948) for assistance.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to the on-arrival testing site until you have visited the IU Health COVID-19 symptom checker and been told that you do not need to arrange a test through the health services process.
  • If you have had a previous positive test result in the last 90 days, but not within the most recent 10 days, please submit that test via and do not come to the on-arrival testing site.
  • If you have had a positive test result in the past 10 days, continue to isolate per CDC guidelines.  
Do not ride in a vehicle with other students to the testing site. If one person in the vehicle tests positive for COVID-19, everyone in the vehicle will have to quarantine, even if they test negative.

BY CAR: If you are driving to your test, please enter through Gate 11 of the athletics complex off the 45/46 Bypass. Once you have received the result, you may exit the area through Gate 4 onto 17th Street, or Woodlawn Avenue.

ON FOOT OR BY BIKE: Enter on foot from Gate 4 or Gate 11, and check in at the “Pedestrian Walk Up Tent” near the northwest corner of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. These locations are noted on the map at the end of this email.

If you plan to be in Bloomington this semester and cannot take the test on August 14, please email me. ( There are potential make-up tests on 8/17 8:00-4:00 (it will be crowded with Kelley students) and on 8/18 and 8/19 from 8:00-12:30. Also, there will be saliva tests later in the week, but the turnaround time is 48 hours, and this could significantly interfere with in-person class attendance.
  1. Safety on Campus
  • Every student must sign the Student Commitment Form. Staff and faculty sign a similar form.
  • Students arriving from a country outside the U.S. will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in the U.S.
  • Everyone on campus must wear a mask when entering all IU buildings and while in all public spaces, including classrooms, hallways, elevators, and common areas. Masks are also required in outdoor spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. You should be receiving two masks from the University, but bring a few with you just in case.
  • We should all strive to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from each other.
  • Students who feel ill must stay home. Even if your symptoms are mild, please don’t risk your health and the health of others.
  • Students exposed to the COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Students diagnosed with COVID-19 may not return to campus until cleared by a health professional and will be asked to participate in contact tracing.
  • In-person absences due to health or quarantine will not affect students’ grades.
  • Much as we love to see you, our goal is to limit density in the building. If you are able to work at home, we strongly encourage you to do so.
  1. Masks Required throughout Monroe County. Monroe County, where Bloomington is situated, requires that all individuals wear a face shield, face covering, or mask when indoors at places other than their home or car. Such masks must also be worn outdoors when maintaining physical distance of six feet is not possible.
  2. Drop/Add. As you know, we had a special Drop/Add period at the end of July. We will again have Drop/Add from August 13-21. Please be on the lookout for an email from Alexis Lanham on Wednesday, August 12 with Drop/Add instructions. If you wish to sign up for an in-person class but intend from the beginning to take it entirely remotely, please talk to Dean Orenstein, Director Beck, or Alexis Lanham to discuss that choice and receive approval. Finally, as a courtesy to your fellow students, please let Alexis Lanham ( know if you no longer wish to be on a wait list for a class. 
  3. Seating for in-person classes.
  • The seats in all classrooms have been arranged in socially distanced format. Students must maintain that format, and cannot move chairs from the socially distanced arrangement.
  • Students will be assigned to specific seats, and instructors will prepare a seating chart that reflects those assignments. Students must sit in their assigned seat every time. This will help with contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Before and after class, students should wipe the areas around their seats: desk, seat, outlet, and other high-touch areas. Disinfectant and paper towels are in the classroom for this purpose.
  • Do not physically enter an in-person class in which you are not enrolled. If you are interested in adding an in-person class, but you are not yet enrolled, please do not enter the class unannounced and take a seat. Instead, please contact the instructor in advance and make arrangements to join a class session remotely until it is determined that classroom capacity and enrollment limits are met.
  1. Orientation for Returning Students. Last Thursday, Dean McFadden and I presented information about jobs, character and fitness disclosures, the bar, and more. A video of the Mini-Orientation for your class is available on your Canvas page. Please watch it if you were unable to join us in person!
  2. Information from the Jerome Hall Law Library. We are excited to welcome our new library director, Susan deMaine. She and Ashley Ahlbrand have posted incredibly helpful information about the library’s hours, services, and innovations this semester. Their letter is posted on your class Canvas page.
  3. One Book – One School. The Law Library and Office of Student Affairs are sponsoring a semester-long book group.  We are encouraging everyone in the Law School community to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. We will be scheduling programming and sharing conversation materials as the semester progresses. You can access the e-book version, at no cost, at this site. You will be asked for your IU credentials. To download the book for offline reading, you will need to set up an “account” with the e-book vendor, but it is safe to do so. Please contact the Library or OSA if you have any questions or ideas for activities or discussion around the book.
  4. The IU Bookstore, located at the Union, will be open from 9:00-5:00, Monday-Friday. You can look up the books you need here. The bookstore offers curbside service. TIS College Bookstore is not selling books this semester. Please let your professor know if you have difficulty acquiring a required book for class.
  5. Around the Building.
  • Building usage: The building will be used only for classes taught by law professors. No one will be permitted in the building other than Law School students, faculty, and staff.
  • Lockers: Everyone who indicated that they wanted a locker, received one. Some people may have their lockers moved to maximize social distancing. The deadline for procuring a locker has passed, but if anyone has a hardship, they should contact Director Beck (, and we will try to accommodate you.
  • Carrels: Upper-class students will not have library carrels this year.
  • Student Organization and Law Journal Offices: These student offices will be closed.
  • Office Hours: Office hours will be conducted by Zoom or out of doors. Our normal habit of congregating around the podium or in the halls after class to discuss questions just can’t work with our rules of physical distance and our desire to keep the building relatively empty.
  • Empty Classrooms: Some classrooms are being reserved for students who are taking a mix of online and in-person classes and won’t have time to return home for their online class. When not being used for that purpose, empty classrooms may be used for study. At all times, students must adhere strictly to the occupancy limits, observe physical distance, and not bring in food or drink (see below).
  • Elevators:  Elevator use in the main building and the library is limited to people who possess a physical need.  Only one person is permitted on the elevator at a time.
  1. Eating at School. On Friday, we learned that eating and drinking is prohibited in all classrooms. However, as far as we know, students can still eat in the library. We will let you know if that changes. When the weather is nice, we suggest that you eat outdoors. If you live close to the law school, we would appreciate it if you went home for lunch
  2. The Student Handbook. The Office of Student Affairs is very pleased to present our Student Handbook. You can find it on our website on this page under "Student Handbook." We hope that many of your questions are addressed, but still don’t hesitate to talk to a person. Let us know if you spot any typos or believe there is helpful information that is missing.
  3. Communication. There are lots of activities planned for this semester and ways for you to get involved, and we want to make sure that you know about them. Please consult the following regularly:
  • Your class page on Canvas, which Director Beck and I will update regularly and which you should enable to receive emails of announcements;
  • The ILA, which arrives in your IU mailbox every Sunday;
  • CareerNet; and
  • Your IU email, which you must check daily.
  1. Emotional and Psychological Support. Many of us have had a rough summer. The fall may also be stressful because of the pandemic, current events, and the upcoming election.  If you need to talk to someone, there are many people eager to listen and help. We offer a wide range of health, mental health, and wellness resources for students, including:
  • Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) 317-833-0370
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), where trained, professional staff are available to provide confidential support. Appointments at CAPS can be made by calling 812-855-5711. After hours assistance is also available.
  • Talk to Dean Orenstein or Director Beck
  • Learn about counselors in the Bloomington Community (we have a list at Student Affairs).
Thanks so much for reading through this long email. We recognize that some of this last-minute testing information may disrupt your plans, and we’re sorry about that. If you run into any roadblocks, remember that all classes will be recorded, and your professors will be understanding. I am confident that we all will have the opportunity to hone our skills of flexibility and unflappability this semester. I appreciate your patience and kindness.

I hope that, despite all the pandemic-related craziness, your semester gets off to a great start.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and Director Beck ( if there’s any way we can be of assistance.  

Dean Aviva Orenstein
812-340-3105 (cell)
Maurer School of Law
Baier Hall, 211 South Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7001