SERVING JURY DUTY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Every person who has a case in the Circuit Court is afforded the opportunity of a jury trial pursuant to our Constitution. In resuming jury trials which were delayed due to COVID-19, the Arlington Circuit Court fully understands the need to protect the health and safety of jurors, trial participants, county employees, and the public.
The Court has implemented procedures that follow the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other health officials, and the Virginia Supreme Court. It is understood that that jurors should be in a worry-free environment that allows them to focus on the proceedings and evidence.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN ARRIVING AT THE COURTHOUSE ON MY REPORTING DATE?
Give yourself plenty of time to travel to the courthouse, pass through a security screening station, and report to the designated court room stated on your summons or in other communications from the court. Have your summons and identification ready to show to the deputy sheriffs to identify yourself as a juror which allows you to bring in electronic devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.
- WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS TO TAKE IF I RECEIVE A SUMMONS FOR JURY DUTY IN THE MAIL?
First, read the summons carefully – front and back. Then visit the Juror Website (easiest/preferred method) or Juror Hotline at 703-228-0533 to confirm receipt of your summons. Please be certain your email address and mobile number are updated so court staff can keep you informed about your service.
- WHAT STEPS ARE BEING TAKEN TO PROTECT JURORS WHO ARE SERVING DURING COVID‑19?
Below are some, not all, of the steps the Court is taking to provide a safer environment for jurors to perform their civic duty:
- By Circuit Court Order, face masks are required to be worn at all times by everyone in the courthouse. Extra face masks will be made available to jurors.
- Jurors will have a separate security screening station in the lobby to enter the courthouse.
- Temperature checks will be performed at security screening stations for everyone who enters.
- Reminders on ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 (face masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc.) will be posted around the courthouse.
- Social distancing markers will be placed on surfaces, including seating areas.
- Elevators are limited to two riders.
- Clearly marked signage will be visible in the courthouse directing jurors to gathering areas.
- Reporting times for jurors will be staggered to lessen crowds.
- Jurors will be organized in smaller groups in different locations while waiting for trials to begin.
- Hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, gloves and extra face masks will be readily available.
- Court rooms and waiting areas will be cleaned and sanitized daily, and as needed throughout the day.
- Access to juror amenities in common areas will be closed.
- Staff will conduct paperless/touchless interactions whenever possible.
- WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I BELIEVE I CANNOT SERVE AS A JUROR DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?
There are reasons some jurors may not be able to serve such as health concerns, vulnerability to the coronavirus, family exposure, and other factors.
To submit a request to be excused from jury duty, do not call the court directly, but visit the Juror Website (put in click link) or Juror Hotline 703-228-0533 to submit a request. At home page, click on “Excuse” tab and carefully read and follow all instructions. Fully explain your reason and provide any required documentation by email to email@example.com or Fax 703-228-7079. Please note that submitting false information to the court is subject to the penalties of perjury. A Judge in the Circuit Court will decide whether or not you will be excused, and court staff will then notify you of the decision.
- WHAT PREPARATIONS SHOULD I MAKE BEFORE APPEARING FOR JURY DUTY AT THE COURTHOUSE?
Before you report to the courthouse on your summons date, please prepare as follows:
- Watch the Jury Orientation video by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court so you will be familiar with how trials are conducted.
- Read The Answer Book for Jury Service at the State Court’s website.
- In the few weeks before you report, frequently monitor your email and mobile phone for communications from the court with important updated information.
- As instructed in your summons, you must check the Juror Website or Hotline after 5:30 p.m. the business day before you report to determine whether or not you are required to report on your summons date. If you check anytime before 5:30 p.m. the evening before, you will get false reporting information.
- WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I FEEL SICK OR BELIEVE I MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19?
If you have any flu-like symptoms, such as fever (100.4F or higher), chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, fatigue, etc., please contact the court before you report at 703-228-3124. Please also tell court staff if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you live with or are in close proximity with someone who has been diagnosed. Documentation may be required.
- WHAT CAN I BRING WITH ME TO THE COURTHOUSE ON MY REPORTING DATE?
a. Your summons and valid identification
b. Face mask (required)
c. Your own bottled water
d. Your own snacks and lunch (lunch may be provided by the court in some circumstances)
e. Mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, or other electronic devices (must show summons at security)
f. Reading material
g. Your own pen and paper (will also be made available)
h. Personal hand sanitizer (will also be made available)
- WHO SHOULD I SPEAK TO ON-SITE IF I HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES OR OTHER MATTERS?
Please feel free to inform the Judge, Bailiff or Clerk in the court room if you feel uncomfortable about any social distancing issues while serving jury duty in the courthouse.
- HOW CAN I PERSONALLY MAINTAIN A SAFER ENVIRONMENT FOR MYSELF AND OTHERS WHILE IN THE COURTHOUSE?
Follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing (6-foot distance), wear your face mask, frequently wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer. Do not share personal items. Cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue or in your elbow. Monitor your health. For the latest information from the County on how to help stop the spread of COVID-19, please visit the County’s COVID-19 homepage.