LSU announces reopening plans, says fall classes expected to take place
BATON ROUGE - On Monday morning, LSU officials issued a statement detailing their strategy to reopen campus.
LSU's interim president, Tom Galligan, announced that the university has already successfully brought 25 percent of its employees back to campus and expects to see approximately 50 percent of employees return to campus once Phase 2 begins.
In the coming months, as the state transitions into Phases 3 and 4, the campus will gradually return to normal operations, Galligan said.
Officials say LSU will be open and ready to hold classes for the fall semester.
"We are planning for all facilities and buildings to be open and accessible to our students, faculty, and staff," Galligan said. "But, as noted, we will continue to strive to protect the health and safety of the LSU community. This means that things may look a little different on campus, but that’s okay. Together, we will navigate the challenges that COVID-19 present to us, and we will adjust our policies and protocols as needed."
The university's current plans for the fall are detailed below:
Physical Distancing – It's expected that even in the fall, the CDC and the state of Louisiana will still recommend physical distancing of 6 feet whenever possible.
Face Coverings – It's anticipated that the CDC and the state of Louisiana will still recommend face coverings. Face coverings are especially important in spaces such as hallways, elevators and stairwells, which are not large enough to provide 6 feet of space between all individuals.
Therefore, it's expected that face coverings will be required of the entire LSU community this fall. Students, faculty, and staff are urged to wash these face coverings daily. Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html.
Cleaning – The university will continue to operate using the increased cleaning protocols recommended by the CDC to ensure that all campus buildings are cleaned and sanitized consistent with that guidance.
Hand Washing/Hand Sanitizer – LSU will continue to recommend that everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or, if hand washing is not feasible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Officials plan to randomly test between 10 and 16 percent of the populations of all LSU System campuses statewide for COVID-19 this fall.
It is anticipated that participants would be selected randomly from lists of students and employees, and those selected would be encouraged to participate in the testing, although, not required.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 would be interviewed in an effort to determine who they have been with recently so that accurate contact tracing can be achieved. Every effort would be made to locate and test anyone believed to have been exposed. The goal of this plan is to determine the incidence of the virus on LSU’s campuses and to locate and mitigate any possible clusters of the virus.
Academic Calendar – At this time, officials are planning to start the fall semester on schedule. They are exploring holding classes on campus through Thanksgiving, and after the Thanksgiving holiday, having students finish the semester online and not return to campus. This would prevent anyone who traveled over Thanksgiving and may have been exposed to COVID-19 from returning to campus and potentially exposing others.
Classroom Spaces – LSU heads are closely looking at all classroom spaces on campus to find ways to spread students out in classrooms. Whenever possible, smaller classes will be held in larger rooms so that students can physically distance. In areas where this is not possible, face coverings will be required, especially in hallways, stairwells, elevators and other confined areas in which 6 feet of physical distance is not possible to achieve.
Hybrid Courses – Some of the university's fall course offerings may involve a hybrid of in-person and online instruction. Details will be shared as soon as possible.
Lab Courses – Classes that require laboratory work or experiential learning will have requirements for faculty and students to maintain 6 feet of physical distance where possible, and to otherwise wear face coverings.
Student Services – Many campus units have regular interaction with students on a daily basis, and LSU is working to determine the safest way to ensure that these units can continue to effectively meet student needs. We are planning to offer these services through a hybrid of in-person and online strategies, and will be sharing guidelines with these units in the near future so they can plan for service-delivery in safe but creative ways.
Administrative Offices – Campus offices will follow the CDC and Louisiana guidance for physical distancing and proper hygiene, and will use technology to conduct business as appropriate and necessary, including holding remote meetings.
Public Spaces – Common spaces such as the Union, the Library, the Bookstore and the Dining Halls will be open this fall, but will likely have capacity restrictions or otherwise need to operate differently. The university is planning these changes now and will communicate those as soon as possible.
Events – Activities such as Move-In Day, athletic events, student organization events, Greek Life events and other large gatherings this fall may be altered or postponed. Plans are being made now for how these events will look, and decisions will be announced in the coming weeks. We are monitoring LSU’s and Louisiana’s phased re-openings to help us determine how to safely hold these events.
Research Spaces – Faculty have submitted safety plans for the fall to ensure compliance with health and safety guidelines in laboratories, studios and other spaces. During the first few months of the pandemic, research activities were reduced to only those conducting COVID-19 research and those necessary for maintaining valuable laboratory organisms and instruments. Throughout the phased reopening, officials have increased the number and types of research facilities that are coming back online, and will continue to do so from now until the fall, as research is central to LSU's mission as Louisiana’s flagship university.
Creative and Performing Arts – This fall, LSU's leaders anticipate that studios and other spaces for creative and performing arts will be open, all in accordance with CDC safety guidance and state guidelines.
Click here for more information on LSU's response to the health crisis caused by COVID-19.