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Students walk past tents and barricades near an entrance to Tiger Stadium Tuesday afternoon, August 24, 2021, hours after it was announced that everyone 12 years of age and older attending an LSU football game this season would have to present proof of vaccination against coronavirus or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the game.

LSU says some of the 78 students it intended to throw off campus at the end of the week for failing to comply with university coronavirus protocols are taking steps to stay in school, and the athletic department says it’s reconfiguring a plan to enforce Tiger Stadium’s COVID-19 restrictions due to “kinks” during the first home game on Sept. 11.

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said Thursday that students unenrolled because of their failure to follow new campus COVID-19 rules will be allowed to submit proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or a positive test from the last three months until Friday at 4:00 p.m. if they want to re-enroll.

"The goal from the start has been to get students in compliance and not for us to unenroll students,” Ballard said. “But they have to be in compliance to stay in the LSU community."

Enforcement of Tiger Stadium COVID restrictions had 'kinks,' LSU acknowledges

The email LSU sent to those 78 students notified them that the university gave them a 50% refund “due to failure to comply with LSU’s Entry Test Verification procedures” after they “were sent numerous notifications.”

To be re-enrolled, students must email the Office of Academic Affairs after they complete entry requirements.

Ballard said some of the 78 showed interest were taking steps to comply. He did not provide a number but said one would be available Friday. LSU has about 34,000 students.

For admittance to Tiger Stadium this weekend, Cody Worsham with LSU athletic communications said the process for verifying fans’ vaccination status will “go much smoother” than it did for the first home game. Ballard had said this week there were "kinks" in the system.

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Worsham said the athletic department hosted 12 stationary locations and 10 mobile units that checked fans’ COVID information and handed out upwards of 12,000 pre-verification wristbands last week before running out. For Saturday’s game, these pre-check sites will have 20,000 wristbands to give out.

Worsham said the department sells upwards of 90,000 tickets for non-conference games, with between 55,000 and 65,000 fans making it into the stadium.

“We expect to run out of wristbands again,” Worsham said. “The point of the wristband is to cut lines down at the gates. If we gave everyone wristbands, there would be no value in them. It wouldn’t speed things up.”

Fewer than 10 mobile units will be on campus Saturday, as Worsham said most stadium-goers opted to get wristbands at stationary verification sites instead.

One change is semantic, but Worsham says it makes a difference. Instead of giving out "pre-verification" wristbands to vaccinated or COVID-negative fans, the department is calling them "fast pass" wristbands.

“It’s a better name for what they do,” Worsham says. “If you get approved for entry before you get to the stadium, you don’t have to wait to get approved at the gate, so 'fast pass' lines will move faster. It’s just a branding change, but it will clear up some confusion.”

Worsham said fans can speed up lines to get into the stadium by having their vaccination cards out, pulled up on LA Wallet or shown in a picture on their phones before they get to the front of the line.


Email Caroline Savoie at CSavoie@TheAdvocate.com or follow her on Twitter at @CarolineSavo.