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Masks, COVID testing and virtual classes: LSU makes changes in January amid virus surge

4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago Monday, January 03 2022 Jan 3, 2022 January 03, 2022 5:09 AM January 03, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Masks will be required inside LSU buildings when students return for the second semester as the university re-opens for classes amid a COVID surge during the holidays.

LSU will not make changes to its academic calendar, the university announced Saturday (January 1, 2022).  Classes are scheduled to begin January 18.

“In consultation with our faculty Health and Medical Advisory Committee, and looking carefully at the nationwide surge of the Omicron variant, we are building on our successful approach from the fall and providing you with our protocols for the spring 2022 semester,” LSU President William Tate wrote in a message released Saturday afternoon.

Scroll to the bottom of the story to read the entire message. 

“The academic calendar for the spring is unchanged, and we look forward to seeing you all back on campus soon,” he said.

But, there will be strict COVID protocols when everyone returns to campus: Masks will be required in buildings and at campus events.  The mask mandate will include campus buses.  

For the first two weeks, professors can opt to deliver their face-to-face classes in either fully remote, hybrid or traditional and in-person, LSU said.

By the end of January, should COVID positivity rates drop below 10 percent, campus will resume scheduled course delivery, LSU said.

Here is how Tate explained it:

Classrooms: For the first two weeks of the semester, instructors whose courses are listed in the spring catalog as being delivered face-to-face may opt to deliver their courses in synchronous (real time) fully remote, hybrid, or completely face-to-face formats. At the end of the two-week period, if the community and campus COVID-19 positivity rates are below 10 percent, the campus will resume scheduled course delivery.

Students living on-campus - including dorms, LSU apartments and Greek Houses - will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test within five days before moving in or proof of a positive test within the last 90 days.  At-home tests will be accepted, LSU said.

Students will provide test information via an online portal, LSU said.

LSU will continue its wastewater testing program and COVID testing will be required for all students in residence halls, campus apartments and Greek Houses whose wastewater shows a substantial spike in the virus.

Students and employees who are not vaccinated will be required to test monthly throughout the spring semester.

Read the entire message below: 

Dear LSU Community,

 

We want to again thank all those who vaccinated, tested regularly, and masked throughout the fall semester. Our student vaccination rate of over 84 percent represents the best in the state for public universities and is among the highest vaccination percentages in the SEC. Consequently, our positivity rate in the fall was extremely low and we were able to successfully complete our semester.

 

In consultation with our faculty Health and Medical Advisory Committee, and looking carefully at the nationwide surge of the Omicron variant, we are building on our successful approach from the fall and providing you with our protocols for the spring 2022 semester.

 

Masks: Masks will be required indoors and within 50 feet of building entrances/exits where congregating occurs. Masks will also be required at campus events and on campus buses. Cloth masks are acceptable but K-N95 and N95 masks offer the best protection to the wearer and are encouraged. Masks should completely cover the nose and mouth.

 

Classrooms: For the first two weeks of the semester, instructors whose courses are listed in the spring catalog as being delivered face-to-face may opt to deliver their courses in synchronous (real time) fully remote, hybrid, or completely face-to-face formats. At the end of the two-week period, if the community and campus COVID-19 positivity rates are below 10 percent, the campus will resume scheduled course delivery.

 

Entry Testing: All students living in on-campus housing (residence halls, campus apartments and Greek Houses) will be required to show proof of a negative test taken within 5 days before returning to their residence hall, or proof of a positive test within the last 90 days. Any type of COVID test, including an at-home test, will be accepted. Anyone who tests positive while getting an entry test should isolate before returning to campus. Students will soon receive a link to the portal where they can upload their test results.

 

Monthly Testing: Students and employees who are not vaccinated will be required to test monthly throughout the spring semester.

 

Wastewater Testing: Wastewater monitoring will continue through the spring semester. COVID testing will be required for all students in residence halls, campus apartments and Greek Houses whose wastewater shows a substantial spike in virus.

 

Ventilation: We will continue to use HEPA filters in all classroom spaces. HEPA units should remain on at all times and are designed to run 24/7. While they do make some noise, they are also cleaning the air to protect against airborne bacteria, allergens, mold and viruses, including COVID-19.

 

Vaccination and Boosters: Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our community. The LSU vaccination mandate remains in place. Unvaccinated community members will resume standing testing protocols. Those who are eligible for the booster shot, as outlined by the Louisiana Department of Health, are strongly encouraged to get the booster before returning to campus.

 

The academic calendar for the spring is unchanged, and we look forward to seeing you all back on campus soon. Thank you for your continued cooperation as we work to keep all members of the LSU community safe and healthy.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

William F. Tate IV

LSU President

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