July 2021 Bar Examination and the Coronavirus Pandemic
The July 2021 Bar Examination will be conducted as a live, in-person examination on July 27 and 28, 2021. While it appears the danger posed by COVID-19 will be significantly lessened by the end of July, the Supreme Court of South Carolina (Supreme Court) will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic, including state and federal directives and guidance, to determine if this examination can be safely conducted, and will impose appropriate measures to mitigate the risks posed by the pandemic.
All applicants will be required to wear a face mask while taking the examination, and while on the grounds of the testing facility, including its parking lots and sidewalks. It is anticipated that applicants who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the examination will not be required to comply with any further mitigation measures prior to or during the examination.
It is anticipated that those applicants who have not been fully vaccinated prior to the examination will have to comply with mitigation measures similar to those imposed for the February 2021 Examination. See Order of the Supreme Court February 4, 2021 (available at https://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displaywhatsnew.cfm?indexID=2567). These measures include restrictions on travel to the examination, a 14 day "semi-quarantine period" prior to the examination, mandatory COVID-19 testing immediately prior to the examination, and medical screening prior to and during the examination. Further, since all applicants should have ample opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination prior to the examination,1 only limited seating capacity will be provided for applicants who have not been fully vaccinated. 2 In the event there is not enough seating for all the unvaccinated applicants, unvaccinated applicants may be chosen by random or by such other method as the Supreme Court may determine is appropriate to fill these seats, and those not selected will be rescheduled for the February 2022 examination. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.
The Supreme Court will issue an order specifying the mitigation measures for the July 2021 Examination at a later date. Later guidance will provide additional information on how applicants should provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
1 Most states are either currently vaccinating persons 16 years or older, or intend to start doing so before the end of April 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-a-state-by-state-guide-11611703769.
2 Based on the greater risk posed by proximity to unvaccinated applicants, the Supreme Court intends to provide greater spacing between unvaccinated applicants than between vaccinated applicants. With approximately 470 applicants anticipated to take this examination, only a limited amount of seats can be made available with this greater spacing.