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LSU's Baton Rouge campus

LSU's fall semester will start on Aug. 24 as planned, but there will be several major changes to the schedule because of the coronavirus, officials announced Friday evening. 

"Since we can’t predict what the pandemic may look like this winter, we need to take precautions now and address the calendar early so that our employees and students can plan ahead," a statement from the university said.

The fall holiday from Oct. 8-9 will be canceled. Then, after the Thanksgiving Holiday between Nov. 25-27, students will not return to campus and all remaining classes will be held online.

Exams will also be conducted remotely.

"By eliminating fall break and not returning to campus after Thanksgiving, we hope to reduce the chances of an outbreak of the virus that could be caused by exposure through travel."

The university is also updating fall course offerings to allow for proper social distancing, which may result in room changes and moving some additional courses online. 

Decisions concerning residence halls, December commencement and campus events are forthcoming, university officials said. 

"Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet, and in fact, is now impacting college students at a higher rate than before," the statement said.

The statement urges students to "be vigilant" and wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and wash hands. 

"We want our fall semester to be as normal as possible, but we all play a role in making that happen," it said.

These changes do not apply to students enrolled in the LSU Online program, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, or the School of Veterinary Medicine, which have their own calendars. Students in those programs will be contacted directly, the statement said.

The coronavirus has caused enormous disruptions at LSU and other universities across the country. The last several weeks of the recent Spring semester were conducted remotely, and there were no major in-person graduation ceremonies. 

Last week, state health officials said there had been an outbreak of the virus at several bars in the Tigerland area near campus. And there has been an alarming rise in the number of young adults testing positive.