Tulane increases testing to three times weekly for all undergraduates

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Students wear masks and use their laptops in the socially-distanced classroom.

Gabby Abrams, News Editor

Days after Halloween weekend, Tulane saw its largest number of positive COVID-19 cases. 55 students and 2 employees tested positive on Nov. 5, with a positivity rate of 2.4%. This elevated positivity rate follows weeks of nearly zero daily cases from the Tulane community. Also on Nov. 5, Dean of Students Erica Woodley sent an email to all undergraduate students regarding reports of reckless behavior over the weekend. 

We received reports, photos and videos of Halloween parties hosted by Tulane students and attended by students who were not adhering to COVID-19 health guidelines (wearing masks and social distancing) in the downtown and French Quarter areas,” Woodley said.  “We are addressing these reports through the Office of Student Conduct.” 

Woodley’s email also detailed a new testing protocol — three tests per week for all undergraduates. This is the third time this semester that Tulane has increased their weekly testing expectations for students. Woodley encourages students to schedule tests as soon as they receive the email to do so from Campus Health. Both Phelps and Paterson Testing Centers are now available for all students to use for the next week. 

For students living in Sharp and Monroe Residence Halls, the testing protocols are more extensive. Students in those residence halls are now being tested daily until Nov. 11, via a Nov. 6 email from Woodley. Additionally, Sharp and Monroe residents are not allowed to eat in the Commons until Nov. 11. Instead, Woodley said that the temporary Dining Pavilion on Berger Family Lawn will be their primary dining location for the coming week. They are also recommended to use the GrubHub delivery option for food from the Lavin-Bernick Center. 

In addition, Woodley revoked the Oct. 20 relaxation of the residence hall guest policy. Students are now no longer allowed in any residence hall that they do not live in. 

In both emails from Woodley, she expressed the importance of utilizing campus contact tracers to control the spread of cases. 

“It remains critical that, if you test positive, you give an honest account of your close contacts,” Woodley said. “Over the semester, we have been able to prevent the spread of COVID by detecting positives among close contacts as they quarantine.” 

In the email to Sharp and Monroe residents, Woodley said, “If you test positive and do not provide close contact tracers with close contracts or are rude, disrespectful or uncooperative with contact tracers, you will be suspended.” 

Furthermore, Woodley said that students who participated in “parties and events post Hurricane Zeta or during Halloween” should quarantine immediately. 

Woodley called upon students to report any information surrounding organizers and attendees of Halloween parties at tulane.edu/concerns

Woodley concluded her Nov. 5 email by saying, “We have just over two weeks of classes remaining. Please continue to adhere to the behavioral standards set forth at the beginning of the semester. I know you are all tired of these restrictions and of my emails. I also know how challenging this semester has been. I am really proud of how far we’ve come — but we are not there yet. Please be extra thoughtful about the decisions you make in the coming weeks. The consequences could be more personally significant — potentially impacting travel and winter recess — for students who are exposed or test positive for COVID-19 at the end of the semester.”