LSU Health and Medical Advisory Committee Recommendations for Fall

Friday, July 23, 2021; 3:30 p.m.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The LSU Health and Medical Advisory Committee is a group of experts in medicine, epidemiology, virology, and environmental engineering who have been meeting regularly since early in the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been tasked with making sure the administration has the up-to-date information needed to make the best decisions to keep all members of our LSU family across the state as safe as possible.

In light of the recent rise in cases and hospitalizations, the potential for breakthrough cases, and the still-too-low rates of vaccination in our communities, we are making the following science-based recommendations to the LSU administration for the fall semester for all campuses:

  • Masks and face coverings should be universally required indoors, including in all classrooms, as well as on campus transportation.
  • All on-campus residents should be required to get entry tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving on campus. Testing will also be required in residence halls when wastewater shows a high detection of the virus.
  • Physical distancing is strongly encouraged where masks are not currently required. This includes continuation of signage at entries and exits of classroom and buildings to discourage congregating in these spaces.
  • Because LSU is not able to mandate vaccinations due to state law, we must continue to strongly encourage all students to get vaccinated prior to arriving on campus. Those who have been vaccinated should self-report through the vaccination survey.
  • Appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols should be in place.
  • All classes should be recorded and available for students who may miss class due to COVID-19 related issues. This is to discourage ill individuals from coming to class.
  • All classrooms should have additional HEPA filtration installed prior to commencement of the semester (in process).
  • Continue to utilize the Daily Symptom Checker as a way of flagging potentially symptomatic individuals and providing testing direction.

There will be a forum for faculty and staff where we welcome their input next week, with details to be announced soon. Given the rapidly evolving situation across the state, however, recommendations to the administration are subject to change.

The administration will be reviewing our recommendations and faculty and staff feedback before making final decisions about the fall semester.

In the meantime, the best thing you can do to keep yourself and our community safe is to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, and encourage others to do the same. These vaccines are safe and extremely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. In Louisiana, 90% of hospitalizations and 91% of deaths from COVID-19 are in individuals who have not been fully vaccinated, including young adults.

You can find information about the vaccines and where to get them on campus here.

In closing, as members of the LSU community ourselves, we have a shared goal of keeping our LSU community healthy, and we believe these recommendations significantly increase our chances of accomplishing that.

 

Sincerely,

 

The LSU Health and Medical Advisory Committee

 

Keena Arbuthnot, Ph.D.

Special Advisor to the President on COVID-19 Response

 

Rebecca Christofferson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pathobiological Sciences

Worley Professor of Excellence

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

 

John Pardue, Ph.D., P.E.

Elizabeth Howell Stewart Professor, LSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Director, LSU COVID-19 Wastewater Testing program

 

Nelson Perret, M.D.

Medical Director

LSU Student Health Center

 

Edward Trapido, Sc.D.

Professor of Epidemiology, Associate Dean for Research

LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health