Press Release

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Seton Hall Law School Offers New Course on COVID-19 Law and Policy

Newark, NJ – May 6, 2020 – Seton Hall University School of Law will offer a new course focused on the legal aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. Set to begin in just a few weeks, the course, COVID-19: Current Topics in Pandemic Law and Policy, is designed to prepare law students to tackle the complex law and policy problems associated with the virus and the response to the pandemic. Throughout the seven-week seminar, law students will examine the legal and ethical foundations of pandemic and emergency preparedness, intervention, and evaluation in the context of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Seton Hall Law Professor Jennifer D. Oliva designed and will teach the course, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, this summer. “The spread of the novel coronavirus has created legal and policy challenges that are largely unprecedented in the United States—many of which will likely play out in American courts and legislatures for years to come,” said Professor Oliva. “This course will examine the biomedical and epidemiological evidence regarding SARS-CoV-2 against the backdrop of the myriad law and policy issues implicated by the pandemic. As such, the course will require students to evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 public health emergency from a constitutional, criminal, administrative, health, employment, privacy, and civil rights law and policy perspective.”

Among other topics, the course will explore the:

  1. legality of quarantine and stay-at-home orders;
  2. legal viability of compulsory testing and/or vaccination;
  3. scope and limits of federal/state/local authority to mitigate potential pandemic harms (e.g., issuance of emergency declarations and orders, et.);
  4. function and scope of policing during a pandemic in light of the Fourth Amendment;
  5. right to access affordable health care treatment and services;
  6. law and ethics of health care resource rationing;
  7. role and responsibility of the federal Food and Drug Administration under its national emergency authority;
  8. application of employment and anti-discrimination laws;
  9. law and policy issues implicated by potential impacts on special populations (health care providers, individuals with underlying health conditions and disabilities, individuals who live in residential facilities, essential employees, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, and individuals who experience homelessness); and
  10. privacy and civil liberties challenges that attend to the use of technology to track, trace, and otherwise surveil individuals.

“Seton Hall Law School has always been about innovation and producing practice ready graduates,” said Kathleen M. Boozang, dean of Seton Hall University School of Law. “This new class will prepare our students for what has become a rapidly evolving legal response to a pandemic that has had implications for almost every aspect of our lives. Our students will be prepared to serve their clients well, whether they are working in the private sector, public service, or public interest.”

About Seton Hall University School of Law

Founded in 1951 and located in Newark, Seton Hall University School of Law is New Jersey’s only private law school and a leading Catholic law school in the New York metropolitan area. Seton Hall Law is dedicated to preparing students for the multiplicity of pathways open to professionals with a legal education in a world transformed by technology. The Law School also offers a robust selection of online and live compliance programs in privacy, cybersecurity, financial services, and health & life sciences for law and graduate students, as well as midcareer professionals.


Jody Ruiu
Assistant Dean of Graduate & Professional Education
Office: 973-642-8190
Email: [email protected]

May 127, 2020