Person who took bar exam at University of Denver tests positive for COVID-19

A law graduate who took the bar exam at the University of Denver this week tested positive for COVID-19 after the in-person test was administered, school officials confirmed Thursday.

The test, held Monday and Tuesday at DU and other sites in Denver and Boulder, became an issue of contention this summer after Colorado law school graduates launched a campaign asking officials to reconsider gathering large groups of people inside for two days during the pandemic.

“The University’s COVID response team was promptly informed of this development and has instituted appropriate protocols to be used in such instances, including contact tracing,” Jon Stone, a DU spokesman, said in a statement.

“In circumstances when a community member or visitor to campus informs the University of Denver that they have tested positive for COVID-19, the university initiates a contact-tracing protocol so that anyone who may have been exposed to the virus is promptly notified. Safety and security of the DU community is the highest priority. We are ever mindful to balance the confidentiality of health information with the transparency needed to mitigate exposure risks and maintain compliance to regulations and university policy.”

Earlier in the month, law school graduates poised to take the exam raised concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19, asking the Colorado Supreme Court to invoke “diploma privilege” as some other states have, meaning University of Colorado and University of Denver law school graduates who applied for the July 2020 bar exam and passed the character and fitness requirements would be licensed to practice law without taking the test.

After the law school graduates’ campaign, the state Supreme Court updated an earlier rule to allow graduates who don’t want to take the July bar exam to start working as lawyers in limited capacities and under the supervision of a qualifying attorney while they wait to take the February test, but didn’t not go as far as to invoke diploma privilege.

Graduates argued many law firms simply wouldn’t hire people with provisional law licenses and that the accommodation didn’t address the health concerns of holding an exam amid an ongoing pandemic.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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