(Photo by Julie O’Donoghue)
BATON ROUGE – To hold in-person classes again during one of the highest surges in COVID-19 since the pandemic began, LSU will require negative COVID-19 tests for arriving students.
In the COVID-19 Roadmap released Wednesday, LSU announced that all students must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days before arriving on campus, unless they have proof of vaccination or a positive test result within the last 90 days. Students can use LSU COVID-19 testing services for this, which is paid for through higher education emergency relief funds.
While the university “strongly recommended” vaccination, vaccination has not been mandated.
“I urge each of you – students, faculty, staff and your families – to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so,” LSU President William Tate said in a Wednesday letter to the LSU community. “The vaccine is free, safe, effective and readily available on campus and throughout most communities. It is the single most effective thing you can do to help us restore “normal” operations to the university.”
Unvaccinated students will be required to get tested monthly, and testing will be required for students living in campus housing. The university will assess higher risk by testing wastewater for higher prevalence of the virus. Masks and face coverings are required indoors for all students.
University staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 must report their case to the university. Vaccinated people who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 must wear masks and get tested twice, once at the time of exposure and then again 5-7 days later. However, anyone who has been fully vaccinated is not required to quarantine if they have no symptoms.
Additionally, classrooms have been modified, with HEPA air filters and other adjustments made to improve ventilation. Classes with 100 or more students can use a hybrid format where only 50 students are in the classroom each day during times of high infection. If infection rates don’t increase for two weeks, large classes can resume full occupancy.
Some LSU staff members will be stationed to enforce mask wearing in classes.
“We face a significant challenge in our efforts to realize an exceptional educational experience. To attain this goal will require discipline, vigilance, and a community-first mindset,” Tate said.
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