Tulane updates spring semester COVID-19 policies

Domenic Mesa, News Editor

In an email delivered to the Tulane community Jan. 12, President Mike Fitts; Robin Forman, vice president for academic affairs and provost; and Patrick Norton, senior vice president and chief operating officer provided the student body with information regarding university measures aimed at keeping Tulane’s COVID-19 positivity rate beneath that of New Orleans and Louisiana. A December 18 email had also announced some initial policies for the spring semester. 

“One key takeaway from last semester was the power of early and frequent testing to reduce the spread of the virus, Fitts, Forman and Norton said. “This semester, we will increase the frequency with which we test our students, faculty, staff and contract workers throughout the coming semester.”

Tulane outlined their testing and tracing policies for the spring semester on the university website. On-campus and off-campus undergraduates will be tested three times a week while graduate, professional and School of Professional Advancement students will be tested every two weeks. Faculty, staff and Sodexo/Allied staff are tested every other week. The policies also address contact tracing and quarantining. 

The update from Tulane administration further addresses New Orleans’ shift to a Modified Phase One. New Orleans returned to a Modified Phase One following a surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. 

“The phase will last for three weeks. These limits do not apply to classes and academic programs,” Fitts, Forman and Norton said. 

However, the Tulane administration plans on enforcing the restrictions outlined in New Orleans’ COVID-19 mandate

Tulane’s Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine rollout targets select groups for vaccination. Tulane has already begun to administer the vaccine to the Tulane community. 

“We are committed to rapidly administering these vaccines and will be prepared to support vaccinations for more of those in the Tulane community and beyond as additional vaccines become available and the state expands eligibility,” Fitts, Forman and Norton said.

The update reiterates the importance of adhering to university and state guidelines, while offering words of affirmation to the Tulane community. 

“The changing of the calendar from 2020 to 2021 did not end the need for the restrictions. … We are very proud of how the entire Tulane community met the challenges in the fall, are delighted by your return to campus, and, with your continued dedication, look forward to an academically and personally rewarding spring semester,” Fitts, Forman and Norton said. 

Tulane students should continue to adhere to social distancing, masking and testing guidelines.