Hello everyone! Happy June!
Graduation season has already begun. I’ve heard from students who got COVID during this time. And graduation season will continue for elementary school, middle school, high school, and undergrad levels, and even some law schools will have graduations. And mask wearing will be spotty at best.
We’ve had Memorial Day – mask wearing isn’t at an all-time high.
Father’s Day? I don’t know how many mass celebrations will be happening then.
But then, of course… July 4 – bad news for COVID positivity rates.
So the big question for Cal Bar Exam applicants: will applicants be required to wear masks on July 26-27? Sure seems like it.
UCLA and Cal Poly SLO have already reinstituted mask mandates.
Alameda County (home to the Oakland Cal Bar Exam testing site) reinstituted an indoor mask mandate on Thursday, June 2. Per the San Francisco Chronicle:
On Thursday, Alameda County broke ranks by once again implementing an indoor mask mandate “to limit the impact of increasing COVID-19 cases on hospitalizations.” The mandate, which takes effect June 3, applies to most indoor settings, save K-12 schools and the city of Berkeley, which sets its own health protocols. The state lifted its school mask mandate earlier this year.
Indoor mask mandate. Not indoor mask mandate for events with more than 500 people. Indoor mask mandate.
There’s more. Note what the Los Angeles Times said on June 2:
With coronavirus-positive hospitalizations in Los Angeles County continuing to rise, officials said the nation’s most populous county could be poised to see a new universal indoor mask mandate later this month if the upward trends continue.
“Our weekly case rate and the rate of increase in hospital admissions are of concern,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday. “If we continue on the current trajectory … we’re likely to move into the CDC high [COVID-19] community level within a few weeks towards the end of June, indicating increased stress on the healthcare system.”
L.A. County health officials have already said once the county enters the high COVID-19 community level, that will trigger a local requirement to wear masks in indoor public settings.
Also note that several counties with Cal Bar Exam sites are already in the high community level:
Nearly 1 in 6 Californians live in a county with a high COVID-19 community level. The affected counties are Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano, Marin and Napa in the San Francisco Bay Area; Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado in the Sacramento Valley area; and Monterey, Mendocino, San Benito and Del Norte counties elsewhere in Northern California.
As you are aware, Santa Clara and Sacramento counties have Cal Bar Exam sites. San Diego and Orange County are already in the middle community level.
The Cal Bar has not updated its FAQ document (originally issued April 14).
The current momentum of this crisis strongly suggests that at least one county with a Bar Exam site will require masks on exam day. Things could change, of course. But you don’t know that. And I don’t either.
So what to do? Simple. Assume that masks are required on exam day. Wear a mask, EVERY SINGLE DAY, SEVEN DAYS PER WEEK, for 3- to 3-1/2 hours every day. EVERY DAY, until the Cal Bar guarantees that you won’t have to wear a mask on exam day.
So, if the Cal Bar says on July 15 that you don’t have to wear a mask on exam day, you can laugh while taking off your mask. But if you hear on July 15, July 20, even July 25 that you have to wear a mask on exam day. How will you prepare for that? You can’t. Unless you start wearing masks. NOW.
You’ve been warned.