Cal Bar Committee of Bar Examiners meeting Jan. 28-29 – contingency planning for Feb. 2022 exam to be discussed
The Cal Bar’s Committee on Examiners has its monthly meeting this week, on Jan. 28-29. One item of interest is in closed session:
|A.||Action on Pending Testing Accommodation Appeals. (Christina Doell) [Closed pursuant to Bus. & Prof. Code §6026.7(c)(3), §6026.7(c)(4), and Gov. Code §11126(c)(1).]|
|B.||Discussion of Contingency Planning for February 2022 Bar Examination. (Audrey Ching) [Closed pursuant to Bus. & Prof. Code §6026.7(c)(2) and Gov. Code §11126(c)(1).]|
Link to the agenda for the full Friday-Saturday meeting here:
I strongly recommend that the Committee continue the front-facing comments it’s provided to everyone throughout this process: in person testing, Feb. 22-23 exam date.
Mercifully, it appears that the Omicron variant is retreating/plateauing/cresting. The LA Times indicated as much in an article on January 19. But in today’s LA Times, we have an even STRONGER indication of such a pattern in the location centers of Bar Exam testing. As noted in today’s article:
The improvement is most pronounced in places like Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area, where health officials have voiced increased confidence in recent days that the coronavirus test positivity rate, as well as daily new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, have either stabilized or begun to convincingly decline.
“This downward trend is encouraging, and it signals that we’re likely to have passed the peak of Omicron transmission and are beginning to see a real decline in the number of newly infected individuals,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
Candidly, any positive comment from LA County Public Health Director Ferrer is GREAT news for the status quo argument of Feb. 22-23 exam testing. If LA County had an overwhelming Omicron problem, she’d put up the red flag, and if LA County forces LA testing for the Cal Bar to go remote, then the whole state would.
More evidence from the article of a receding trend:
California’s Omicron surge appears to have peaked in the week of Jan. 10-16, when the state was recording about 122,000 new coronavirus cases a day. That figure has since dropped to 96,000 cases a day, according to state data released Tuesday that reflects cases reported through Monday.
Here’s the most compelling evidence we need:
Compared with their Omicron peaks, daily coronavirus case rates have dropped by 39% in L.A. County, 33% in Orange County, 25% in San Bernardino County and 21% in Ventura County, according to a Times analysis of state data released Tuesday.
Regionally, Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Greater Sacramento area have also observed declines of 25% to 28%.
“We are past the peak,” said Cody, the Santa Clara County health officer. “And we’re just beginning to see early signs that that our hospitals may be seeing a little bit of a reprieve.”
So let’s be clear: from this article, LA County is down 39%, Bay Area is down 25%, and Sacramento is down 28%. The article mentions San Diego, the fourth site, and says:
Yet the San Joaquin Valley and rural Northern California have yet to begin a persistent drop. In Southern California, San Diego and Riverside counties have also yet to observe the same.
No, San Diego hasn’t gone down 25-39%, but it hasn’t increased, either. So if 3 sites are down 25-39%, and one is unchanged/has a much less drop, none of that is evidence that there’s going to be a massive flareup in four weeks.
My sincere hope is that the Cal Bar internalizes this data and decides this weekend that there’s nothing to see here, and no reason to go remote. The consequences of going remote are severe: candidates are rumored to need several weeks to find locations to take the test that aren’t at home (due to too many people/animals at home to take the test in a quiet, solitary setting or internet reliability is a problem), plus the NCBE extorted all jurisdictions by saying that due to the spat with Examsoft, MBEs will be available in “late March” (March 23 or 30, probably). That means exam administration is delayed a month, that means grading gets pushed back, and that means results get pushed back to June, and that crimps the study schedules for those who fail the February exam.
Let’s NOT go there, Cal Bar and Cal Supreme Court. The Omicron is receding. Let’s mask up, be vaccinated or prove negative, and let’s get this exam in.
Finally, a note from our friends in Washington: a recently published “Exam Health Safety Plan for COVID-19”: in-person exam, while taking proper precautions.