Louisiana college students must submit vaccination information before next semester

Vaccination proof, or an exemption, is required in every Louisiana college system

By: - September 18, 2021 8:00 am
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LSU students line up for the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination event at Tiger Stadium (JC Canicosa / Louisiana Illuminator)

Twenty-seven of LSU’s total 34,000 students were dropped from LSU after not submitting proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or filling out an exemption waiver, which was due last Friday, Ernie Ballard, LSU’s spokesperson, said.

Seventy-eight students were at risk of being dropped this week, but the other 51 students took “the necessary steps to remain part of the LSU community this fall,” Ballard said.

Those students had until Friday at 4 p.m. to submit vaccination information, a recent negative COVID-19 test or a positive COVID-19 test from the past 90 days to re-enroll, he said.


In Louisiana, students can easily get around any university vaccination mandate. They don’t have to be vaccinated if they provide a medical exemption from a physician or “a written dissent from the student or his parent or guardian,” according to Louisiana state law.

At the University of Louisiana system, students who haven’t submitted COVID-19 vaccination information or a vaccination exemption will not be allowed to register for classes in the Spring 2022, but they will be able to complete the Fall 2021 semester.

The UL system — with over 90,000 students — includes Louisiana Tech, Grambling State, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Monroe and the University of New Orleans.

At the Southern system, students will also not be allowed to register for classes next semester if they don’t submit their vaccination information, but the administration is still deciding “any possible repercussions for not adhering to the policy,” Janene Tate, a spokesperson for the university said.

Testing will be required for unvaccinated students in both the Southern and UL system. At Southern, the frequency of that testing is “still being deliberated.” UL schools all have testing protocols in place, but will vary from school to school.

For example, at UL Lafayette, unvaccinated students will be tested at random based on their student ID number. And at UNO, symptomatic students and all close contacts are required to be tested.


LSU students who aren’t vaccinated are required to do monthly testing. The university will also test the wastewater in campus residence halls and greek life houses.

Eighty-one percent of LSU students have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, President William Tate announced Wednesday. Meanwhile, 72 percent of the university’s faculty and staff are fully vaccinated, Ballard said.

Cami Geisman, the vice president for external affairs for the UL system, said over half of the system’s student body have already gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. Last month, UL officials said that 82 percent of faculty and staff had gotten at least one dose.

Southern University President Ray Belton said in a Board of Regents meeting last month that 70 percent of Southern University students are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.