Limited Law Library Access for Law Students During Fall 2020 Exam Period

We are pleased to announce that the University has granted permission for law students to request access to the Jacob Burns Law Library during the Fall 2020 Exam Period. This variance from the University’s otherwise applicable standards has been granted in recognition of the unique nature of law school exams, and the availability of a dedicated law library for our students.

This message describes procedures only for those students who seek access to the law library; no students will be required to seek such access. Students who do not join the on-campus cohort for law library access during exams may still make use of all other library services. The staff of the Burns Library are ready to provide research materials electronically or on a "grab and go" basis as they have since the beginning of the semester. 

Requirements for Obtaining Permission for Law Library Access:
Law students who seek to use the Jacob Burns Law Library from November 30-December 15, 2020 will need to join a limited on-campus cohort, according to standards set forth below. First, those seeking access must request permission from the Dean of Students for law library access no later than November 13, 2020. Requests must be made by submitting a completed application that includes the student’s name, GWID, justification for obtaining permission, and a statement demonstrating that the student commits to following all University protocols for on-campus access. Please note that the purposes for which the University has granted access must be related to quiet studying, and not for meeting with groups or conducting general research. The on-campus protocols begin with making a commitment to on-campus safety and completing an online training (15 minutes via Blackboard). They include daily symptom screening via a brief survey on the Colonial Health Center (CHC) Website, weekly COVID-19 tests, and obtaining a flu vaccination. The CDC recommends universal flu vaccination in any case but if students requesting access you should obtain the immunization (from any health provider or pharmacy) and upload their immunization record to the CHC website.

The Dean of Students will screen applications and forward them to the University Vice President, Division of Safety and Facilities. Once approved, students will receive notification from the University that they have been accepted into the on-campus cohort. They will also receive more detailed information about compliance with the COVID-19 protocols described above.

Law Library Access Procedures for Approved Students:
For the health and safety of staff and students, the number of students permitted in the library at any given time will be limited to twenty students. Students who have been approved through this process will make a reservation using the Libcal reservation system for access during limited hours: Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm; and weekends from 12:00 pm to 5 pm. Approved students will be limited to using the library for a maximum of four hours on any day. The link to the reservation system will be provided to those students by the Law Library. They can make reservations no sooner than the day before they seek to access the library, and no later than midnight of the day before they seek access.

In addition to their name and GWID, approved students will be asked to provide their cell phone number (so that library personnel can contact them in the library if their time has expired and they have not checked out). The twenty students present at any given time may rotate based on the reservation system described above.

Students must adhere to the campus commitment policy, located here. They also must complete online training on Blackboard.

  • Go to
  • Once in Blackboard, locate Keeping GW Healthy on the course list to launch the program. Students must participate in the entire training and click the ‘I Agree’ button to record that you have completed the full training.
  • Proceed until the ‘Thank You’ screen is displayed.

Library Use Rules:
The reservation form asks approved students to confirm that they have complied with testing protocols and puts them on notice that failure to do so or to follow library policies during this period could result in a charge of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The reservation form also sets out the following rules:

  • The student must be able to show the green “badge” supplied by the GW Colonial Health Center on her phone or device.
  • Masks must be worn at all times while using the library.
  • In order to enforce the mask policy, no food or drinks are permitted in the library.
  • Students must depart at the end of their reserved time.
  • There are no collaborative spaces in the library. All areas of the library are reserved for quiet, individual study.
  • Seating is permitted only in designated seats. Chairs must not be moved to different locations.
  • Social distancing is required at all times. All directional signs must be followed.
  • Students are permitted to go only into the Burns Law Library and to the printing stations. Other Law School buildings will not be accessible.

Arriving at the Law Library:
A security guard assigned to the law school in the Burns lobby will help ensure student safety and ensure that those entering the facility limit their access in the building to the library. The guard will not interact with students unless they appear to be going into other areas.

When a student who is a member of the cohort with an activated ID comes to the building, they will be able to access Burns using the pad at the building entrance. Only the entrance at 716 20th Street, as well as the library turnstile, will be enabled.

Once in the library, students will go to the Circulation Desk to be checked in and reminded of the library safety procedures. Students will return to the Circulation Desk to check out upon departure, at or before the time assigned.

The Library has a limited number of individual cubicles that may be assigned to students with a disability. They will not be available otherwise. The Office of the Dean of Students will make arrangements with the Library Director for the assignment of these cubicles.

If you have questions about the process for requesting campus access, please contact the Dean of Students Office at [email protected]. If you have questions about the library reservation system, please contact the Law Library at [email protected].

We appreciate hearing your concerns and know that library access has been a priority. Thank you for your support as we worked with the University to put these arrangements in place. We will continue to keep you apprised of new developments, and we wish you all the best in these final weeks of classes.