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LSU students walk on campus Thursday afternoon, March 12, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. It was announced Thursday that classes would classes would continue as usual on Friday but that classes are canceled the week of March 16-20. Following spring break, LSU will hold class online beginning Monday, March 30, through the end of the Spring semester.

Interim LSU System President Tom Galligan detailed Monday in an email how the Baton Rouge campus will reopen should Gov. John Bel Edwards move the state to Phase 2 reopening after the state has been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LSU has already brought back 25% of the staff and under Phase 2 plan to return about half the work force.

“We are also looking ahead to the fall semester; we are excited to say that we plan to be open and ready to hold classes on campus. We are planning for all facilities and buildings to be open and accessible to our students, faculty, and staff, but, as noted, we will continue to strive to protect the health and safety of the LSU community,” Galligan wrote. “This means that things may look a little different on campus, but that’s okay. Together, we will navigate the challenges that COVID-19 present to us, and we will adjust our policies and protocols as needed.”

Safety Protocols

  • Physical Distancing – The CDC and the state of Louisiana will still recommend physical distancing of 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Face Coverings – The CDC and the state of Louisiana will still recommend face coverings. Face coverings are especially important in spaces such as hallways, elevators and stairwells, which are not large enough to provide 6 feet of space between all individuals. Therefore, we expect that face coverings will be required of the entire LSU community this fall. We urge everyone to try to obtain face coverings now, since they can be difficult to find and may take some time to receive after you order them, and since one will probably not be enough for an entire semester. Take care to wash cloth face coverings daily, learn how to wear and remove them correctly, and never touch the outside of the face covering and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes. Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html.
  • Cleaning – Use increased cleaning protocols recommended by the CDC to ensure that all campus buildings are cleaned and sanitized consistent with that guidance.
  • Hand Washing/Hand Sanitizer – Recommend that everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or, if hand washing is not feasible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. 

Virus Testing

  • Random testing between 10 and 16 percent of the populations of all LSU System campuses statewide for COVID-19 this fall. Participants would be selected randomly from lists of students and employees, and those selected would be encouraged to participate in the testing, although, not required. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 would be interviewed in an effort to determine who they have been with recently so that accurate contact tracing can be achieved. Every effort would be made to locate and test anyone believed to have been exposed. The goal of this plan is to determine the incidence of the virus on LSU’s campuses and to locate and mitigate any possible clusters of the virus.
  • Anyone who tests positive for the virus should contact their healthcare provider immediately, notify the LSU Emergency Operations Center at reportcovid@lsu.edu and should follow the guidance of their healthcare provider regarding self-isolation. LSU will offer assistance to students who test positive to ensure they can isolate properly, to check on their condition, and to provide guidance regarding make-up class work. Human Resource Management will provide guidance to any employees who test positive regarding questions about leave time and health insurance.
  • Provide a voluntary mobile app to our community that would include a symptom checker for users, as well as a contact-tracing function to help those who test positive identify anyone they may have inadvertently exposed. 
  • Antibody testing to LSU employees as they are returning to campus in phases. The cost of virus and antibody testing is covered for employees on the LSU First health plan. Employees on a State Office of Group Benefits health plan should check with the LSU Office of Human Resource Management on testing coverage.

Academics

  • Academic Calendar – At this time, LSU is planning to start the fall semester on schedule. LSU exploring holding classes on campus through Thanksgiving, and after the Thanksgiving holiday, having students finish the semester online and not return to campus. This would prevent anyone who traveled over Thanksgiving and may have been exposed to COVID-19 from returning to campus and potentially exposing others.
  • Classroom Spaces – LSU is closely looking at all classroom spaces on campus to find ways to spread students out in classrooms. Whenever possible, smaller classes will be held in larger rooms so that students can physically distance. In areas where this is not possible, face coverings will be required, especially in hallways, stairwells, elevators and other confined areas in which 6 feet of physical distance is not possible to achieve.
  • Hybrid Courses – Some of LSU's fall course offerings may involve a hybrid of in-person and online instruction. Details will be shared as soon as possible.
  • Lab Courses – Classes that require laboratory work or experiential learning will have requirements for faculty and students to maintain 6 feet of physical distance where possible, and to otherwise wear face coverings.

Campus Life

  • Student Services – Many campus units have regular interaction with students on a daily basis, and we are working to determine the safest way to ensure that these units can continue to effectively meet student needs. LSU is planning to offer these services through a hybrid of in-person and online strategies, and will be sharing guidelines with these units in the near future so they can plan for service-delivery in safe but creative ways.
  • Administrative Offices – Campus offices will follow the CDC and Louisiana guidance for physical distancing and proper hygiene, and will use technology to conduct business as appropriate and necessary, including holding remote meetings.
  • Public Spaces – Common spaces such as the Union, the Library, the Bookstore and the Dining Halls will be open this fall, but will likely have capacity restrictions or otherwise need to operate differently. We are planning these changes now and will communicate those as soon as possible.

Check back for more details