A Georgetown University Law School student was booted from a course after testing positive for COVID-19 in a breakthrough case, according to voicemails and emails from the university reviewed by the Daily Caller.
Danette Blain told the Daily Caller that, beginning in August 2021, she enrolled in a class titled “Business and Financial Basics.” The class was a two-credit, pass/fail course that ran from Aug. 9-13. Blain, who is fully vaccinated per the school’s rules, returned to the Washington, D.C. campus from her home state of Montana on Aug. 3. After developing symptoms of COVID-19, she opted to take a test, which came back positive.
Blain emailed Professor Andrew Blair-Stanek on Aug. 5 requesting accommodations for a hybrid model until she tested negative for COVID. The law student expressed to the Daily Caller that she — like thousands of students nationwide — meticulously planned out her semester and wanted to take the class as scheduled.
The professor told Blain that he was working with the university regarding accommodation policies and asked if she was willing to attend class via Zoom to “ask questions and the like in real time,” according to the student-professor email exchange.
Emily Wack, the executive director of academic affairs at Georgetown Law, informed Blain on Aug. 7 that she was ineligible to take the course after testing positive for COVID-19 since the class has a mandatory attendance policy.
“I’m confirming in writing that we are not able to offer you an option for remote participation in the weeklong Business and Financial Basics course that starts this Monday,” Wack said in an email. “You will need to drop the course — the Office of the Registrar will take care of this for you.”
Georgetown Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Urska Veilkonja told Blain in a separate email that the school would not accommodate her sickness since the mandatory attendance process is the only way “to ensure the students are doing the minimum that is required.”
Blain, who is currently enrolled in the Business and Financial Basics class for the Spring 2022 semester, told the Daily Caller that the class is now entirely online.
Blain argued to both the Georgetown Law administration and the Daily Caller that removing students from their classes after testing positive for COVID-19 could deter students from taking COVID tests. When she addressed these concerns with the administration, Wack emailed her confirming that she must abide by the school’s quarantine rules.
“To be clear, I don’t believe it was your intention to suggest you planned to break quarantine,” Wack said. “But in case I misunderstood entirely and you were trying to seek clarification/confirmation that you must abide by the quarantine rules — you absolutely must remain in quarantine. There would be very serious consequences for any student who intentionally flouted these important safety protocols.”
Georgetown’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Ranit Mishori — who was reportedly caught flouting the school’s COVID policies — was allegedly no help to Blain. Bethany Bower, who works in risk management at Georgetown, emailed Blain stating that there was nothing that Mishori could do to help as the law school “is a different beast.”
“Unfortunately, Dr. Mishori was not able to get anywhere on this,” Bower said. “The Law Center is a different beast and runs on its own rules.”
Blain claimed that she was forced to pay full tuition for the semester, though her course load without the week-long class was not equivalent to a full schedule. She will also be forced to take an “extended load” for her Spring 2022 semester. (RELATED: Some Georgetown Law Students Demand In-Person Learning Or Tuition Reduction)
The third-year law student told the Daily Caller that academic deans appeared shocked that a fully vaccinated student had a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Blain alleged that an administrator called her “the canary in the coal mine,” and they had few strategies in place for accommodating students with breakthrough infections. Georgetown University is mandating that students receive the COVID-19 booster shot as well.
Georgetown defies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on quarantining and still mandates that asymptomatic, fully vaccinated students undergo a 10-day quarantine.
Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University wrote in a Substack post for Bari Weiss’ “Common Sense” that Georgetown’s testing structure is flawed and forces asymptomatic students to undergo long quarantines where food is dropped off at their door once a day.
“At these institutions of higher learning and thousands more, science is supposedly held in the highest esteem,” Makary wrote. “So where is the scientific support for constantly testing fully vaccinated young people? Where is the support for the confinement of asymptomatic, young people who test positive for a virus to which they are already immune on a campus of other immune people?”
“The data simply do not justify any of it,” Makary added.
Blain said that she has “lost all faith in Georgetown” and feels the university will not “listen to the science.”
Georgetown University did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.