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Dr. Reynold Verret, the sixth president and second lay leader of Xavier University of Louisiana, speaks in his office in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of universities and colleges in the New Orleans region (Dillard University, Delgado Community College, Holy Cross University, Loyola University, Nunez Community College, Southern University of New Orleans, Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Xavier University), I write to express our joint belief that the people of New Orleans can together suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our collective effort is needed for the resumption of economic life and the return of our children to their schools.

Quick decision-making by the city and state and the commitment of our residents flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases in March and April. Our city and state took public health measures that prevented the overwhelming of our hospitals and limited the loss of life.

During the past month, the nation and state have seen a significant rise in cases. New Orleans must remain vigilant in its response to a virus that can quickly overwhelm community members’ health, and wreak havoc on our economy.

To avoid a new surge in cases, the mayor of New Orleans and her public health advisers have wisely implemented new measures that will allow us to suppress growth of the pandemic in our region. Out of necessity, we must limit our mass gatherings, close our bars and perhaps most importantly, enforce public masking for this period.

As presidents and chancellors of universities in this city and region, we commend these measures that are based on sound science and have been proven to work. And as representatives of the higher education organizations that are crucial economic drivers and employers in New Orleans, we strongly encourage the adult public to do their part in caring for our community, including our neighbors’ health and economic viability.

Mask, distance, sanitize. The people of New Orleans and of Louisiana have a proven track record of community and resilience, and we will again rally together to do what is necessary, protect each other and get us ready for the return of our children to their schools.

REYNOLD VERRET

president, Xavier University of Louisiana

New Orleans

Our Views: Data leave no doubt that current restrictions need to continue