Tulane tightens its COVID guidelines ahead of the fall term

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Paula Burch-Celentano, courtesy of Tulane University

Students outside the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life in January 2021.

By Daniel Schwalm and Domonique Tolliver, Uptown Messenger

This fall, Tulane University will require all students to receive the coronavirus vaccine, wear masks while indoors on campus and get tested regularly for COVID-19.

Before the Delta variant surge, the university had been planning to relax its COVID guidelines as most of its students, faculty and staff were vaccinated.

Vaccinated individuals would have been allowed go unmasked on campus. The school also had been planning to scale down its regular testing regimen, only requiring regular tests for those who were unvaccinated.

However, on July 30, the city reinstated the indoor citywide mask mandate, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and colleges in the city are following suit.

Tulane now has implemented stricter guidelines, closer to those from the previous school year, for the term that begins Aug. 23.

“We now require that masks be worn indoors by all students, faculty, staff and visitors on all Tulane campuses and properties,” said Tulane spokesman Mike Strecker. “We will also regularly test all members of the Tulane community for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Strecker said 92 percent of Tulane faculty and staff were vaccinated. As of Aug. 10, Tulane reported 39 active cases of COVID-19 in the campus community, including 12 students and 27 employees.

Tulane’s previous COVID guidelines strongly suggested, but did not require, all individuals to wear masks while indoors on any Tulane University property or campus.

Sally Asher, courtesy of Tulane University.

Fourth-year students Krishna Navaratnam and Didi Ikeji enjoy some spring weather in March 2021.

“The COVID precautions from last year made me feel safer,” Tulane sophomore Maya Webber said.

“I was going to wear my mask in the fall regardless of what the guidelines were,” she said. “The weekly testing from last year gave me peace of mind, and I am glad that it is returning.” 

Webber also said she believes that the indoor mask mandate and COVID vaccine will help slow the spread of COVID as students start in-person classes.

“I think these precautions will help us have a safer semester as everyone comes back to campus,” she said.

Daniel Schwalm and Domonique Tolliver are journalism students at Loyola University and reporting interns at NOLA Messenger.

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