COVID-19 Update: Increase in positive cases, testing

November 6, 2020

Dear Tulane Community:

Over the past few days, we've seen a rapid increase in positive COVID-19 cases among our on-campus undergraduate students. We recognize that this is an exceptionally difficult time, but with only two weeks of classes left in the semester it's more important than ever to follow all health protocols. More positive cases could mean, instead of heading home for Thanksgiving at the end of the semester, some students may have to continue isolating and quarantining on campus. None of us wants this.

In light of these developments, we are taking swift actions to reduce further spread in our campus community. To encourage the entire university to take extra precautions to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we are elevating the Action Alert Level from yellow to orange. This means there will be increased testing, additional restrictions for those segments of the campus experiencing the greatest increases in positive cases and a doubling of the self-check reminder texts from once daily to twice-a-day.

We have increased the frequency of testing for all on-campus students to 3 times per week. Students in some residence halls where we're seeing the most cases will be tested daily. These students will also be restricted to specific dining halls and restricted to on-floor visitations only through Nov. 11.

After weeks of very low numbers, many of the recent infections can be connected directly to poor decisions post Hurricane Zeta and over the Halloween weekend. It is imperative that all in our community follow our health protocols – wear face masks, maintain social distancing, limit gatherings to no more than 15 people and wash your hands often.

In addition to safety protocols, the key to Tulane's COVID-19 program is to test often, swiftly identify cases, and isolate positives and quarantine close contacts. This approach has been very successful previously in preventing the spread of the virus at Tulane. It is important that all students comply with contact tracing to identify and quarantine close contacts to limit the spread of the virus. We have the power to stop this increase in its tracks and end the semester successfully and safely.

Michael A. Fitts, President
Patrick Norton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Robin Forman, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost