2020 bar exam to be administered at Delaware State Fairgrounds

HARRINGTON — The 2020 bar examination will be administered at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in September in response to COVID-19, the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners announced Wednesday.

The move from the bar exam’s traditional location at The Widener University Delaware Law School in New Castle County was done to safely and securely administer an in-person test this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

“We believe that the temporary move to the State Fairgrounds is in the best interests of the health and safety of all involved and will allow us to hold the exam this year under our current circumstances,” Jennifer Wasson, chair of the Board of Bar Examiners, said in a prepared statement. “Some states have had to cancel in-person tests completely for 2020. While this year’s location may create some inconvenience for bar applicants, this imposition is necessary to allow the Delaware bar exam to go forward. The State Fairgrounds provides the board with the security and infrastructure to administer the test, given the need for social distancing, test security and other safety measures.”

The exam will be held Sept. 9-11.

Under the board’s current plans, the 2020 bar exam will be conducted under conditions that satisfy the restrictions imposed by Phase Two of the state of Delaware’s Reopening Plan, the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ rules, and the Delaware Judiciary’s guidelines. To meet those challenges, the board conducted a thorough search of locations throughout the state of Delaware that: were available on the dates specified by the NCBE; would allow for social distancing of at least eight feet between test-takers; would meet the NCBE’s security requirements; and would provide sufficient space to accommodate the record number of applicants this year.

The board found that facilities in and around New Castle County either did not meet the safety and security requirements or were unavailable on the required dates. The State Fairgrounds is available and fulfills all of these criteria. The board anticipates that the bar exam will return to New Castle County next year.

Applicants have received notification of the exam location by email, along with a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” providing additional information about the 2020 Exam. The FAQ document can be viewed here:

https://courts.delaware.gov/forms/download.aspx?id=122728.

All applicants, proctors and staff will be required to wear facemasks covering their nose and mouth, and all who enter will be subject to a temperature check and a series of screening questions. Arrival times will be staggered to cut down on crowding at the entrances, there will be a thorough cleaning of the testing area each day (along with frequent cleaning of “high touch” areas) and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the facility.

Additional measures may be added or existing measures revised, depending on the restrictions that are in place in September, and the advice the board receives from health experts and State officials. Bar applicants are advised to check their emails and the notification tab in their online application regularly for any updates.