The University of Louisiana at Lafayette reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the week that ended Sunday, the first week with no cases reported this academic year and the first week with no cases since May 24, 2020, when the campus last showed such a clean slate.
Numbers for the week of March 15-21, reflected on UL Lafayette’s online dashboard, showed no cases for faculty and staff, no cases confirmed on campus and no self-reported cases from those who tested off campus. The university provides free daily testing on campus.
Campus spokesman Eric Maron said health officials on campus were “cautiously optimistic” about the results, acknowledging that they depend upon those who test positive off campus to report their test results to the university.
He said that health officials on campus also caution that the numbers could change if people don’t adhere to established protocols on campus. People on campus are asked to wear masks on campus, to maintain social distancing and to wash their hands frequently.
UL Lafayette has recorded 832 cases of COVID-19 on its dashboard: student cases confirmed on campus, 198; self-reported student cases, 494; confirmed faculty and staff cases, 140.
The numbers show a significant turnaround since the darkest days of COVID-19 testing results, which occurred last November. There were 95 positive cases at UL Lafayette during the week ending Nov. 8, and 101 cases — nine faculty or staff cases, 28 student cases confirmed on campus and 64 cases reported from off campus.
In the current spring semester, the week with the most confirmed cases ended Jan. 10, when 47 cases — nine faculty or staff, two student cases confirmed on campus and 36 reported confirmed off campus — were reported.
Cami Geisman, spokesperson for the University of Louisiana System said other members institutions in the statewide system have been recording low numbers of positive tests — including some weeks of zero cases.
“Several are in the 0-5 cases category for faculty, staff and students,” she said. Some cases involve people who never come to campus, as well.
She noted that Gov. John Bel Edwards has included higher education faculty and staff among those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, which would help all the campuses reduce numbers of positive cases.
She said all nine UL System campuses — McNeese, UL Lafayette, Nicholls State, University of New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana, Northwestern State, Grambling State, Louisiana Tech and ULM — are planning more in-person classes in the fall semester.
Summer courses, she said, would likely be offered mostly online.