During the summer, Louisiana Universities began to outline their plan to reopen for the fall, some being stricter than the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s protocol.
On June 4, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette began emailing students their plan to reopen the university amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This plan includes an adjusted academic calendar, mask and social distancing requirements as well as options for on campus and remote courses.
“All faculty and staff are required to complete the daily self-check questionnaire before returning to work on campus, and may be referred for testing if the screening indicates issues or concerns,” the UL Lafayette website read.
Student testing before return, online self testing and everyday wellness exams are not required by the university.
Louisiana State University (LSU) is requiring a “return to campus” questionnaire before class begins; however, sophomore Olivia Mire is not sure if it will be helpful.
“As far as actual testing goes, the Student Health Center offers tests, and students who show symptoms or come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested, but there are no mandatory tests to my knowledge,” Mire said.
However, other Louisiana Universities, such as Tulane University, Nicholls State University and Loyola University of New Orleans have taken a more drastic approach to minimize student exposure.
Angelina Caruso, an incoming freshman to Loyola, expressed how Loyola’s medical efforts have made her feel safer.
“I don’t believe it’s possible to feel completely safe anywhere right now. However, Loyola has given multiple examples of the ways they’re trying to make their campus healthy and comfortable,” Caruso said. “For me, one of the biggest factors in feeling okay about moving to campus is their partnership with Ochsner and the resources this will provide to all of us students.”
Nicholls, who began the return to campus on Aug. 10, requires students do a wellness test at the 59 checkpoints they have located on the outer campus area.
According to their website, students are required to complete the check in person and receive a wristband or sticker before entering.
Senior David Ramachandran of Tulane said they are requiring all students to get tested for COVID-19 before going back to campus for the fall semester and have adopted their own internal testing program to do so.
“Tulane also plans on testing a sample of students daily once the semester begins. This means that around every 20 to 30 days a student can expect to get an email compelling them to come to the on campus testing site to get tested,” Ramachandran said.
Ramachandran also expressed praise for the housing plan the university adopted, which includes single person housing, as well as floors of hotels in order to accommodate for space.
“Tuition and housing have not increased due to online classes and COVID prevention measures. This is the one area I give Tulane a bit of credit. They have spent probably millions on temporary buildings, upgrading technology in classrooms, and implementing a student body wide testing program without passing the cost on to the students,” Ramachandran said.
Despite Tulane’s efforts, Ramachandran believes tuition should be lowered, and more classes should be offered remotely.
“While this may make some sense, it also makes for a less pleasant semester with fewer breaks, that again, we are still paying full price for... but hey, roll wave or something like that,” Ramachandran said.
Mire said that while LSU is doing the best they can, they also lack accommodations for students with disabilities, unstable home lives, and low income students.
“I hope that as we get on campus, LSU will continue to find new ways to serve our needs as students, and provide the same experiences and quality of education as before the pandemic, but I'm just not sure if that hope will be met,” Mire said.