August 5, 2022
Dear Undergraduate, Graduate & Professional Students,
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a historic challenge, but thankfully, with the remarkable advances in vaccine development and treatments, we are in a different position now than when we recorded our first campus case more than 24 months ago. This position is further strengthened by Tulane’s exceptionally high vaccination and booster rates.
Over the past 12 months, we have seen the majority of COVID-19 cases begin to resemble a cold or the flu. In light of this, we are making some changes to our campus COVID protocols. These changes will align us more closely with the practices of our peer institutions throughout the country, and with the recommendations of public health experts. In alignment with City of New Orleans guidelines, however, we continue to strongly encourage indoor masking.
This fall, students can expect the additional COVID-related changes below:
- Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate in place in their residence hall rather than in off-campus hotel rooms. We have developed a guide to help students do this as safely as possible. We recognize how disruptive the off-site COVID isolation practices were for our students and are pleased to be in a position to move away from this practice.
- We remain committed to the early detection of COVID-19, but believe this can be accomplished through symptomatic testing. Hence, we will continue to do symptomatic testing but will discontinue our random sample, asymptomatic surveillance testing. Individuals who believe that they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should immediately begin wearing a K-N95 mask and limit their interactions until after they’ve been tested. We recommend all students come to campus with their own supply of K-N95 masks, but we will also have a supply of these masks available at no charge.
- We will continue to do contact tracing so that when COVID-19 is found in our community, we can quickly identify anyone who may have been exposed and have them tested as soon as possible to limit additional spread.
- Our residence hall visitation policy will return to its pre-COVID-19 status, which means students will be allowed to welcome both student and non-student guests. Students must follow all guidelines regarding hosting guests and guests must abide by all residence hall policies and the Code of Student Conduct.
We will continue to require new members of our community, including students, faculty and staff, to show proof of vaccination and the appropriate booster shots. More information about Tulane’s COVID vaccination policy can be found here. Faculty, staff and students who are immunocompromised or those who are unvaccinated are encouraged to take necessary steps to minimize their risk, including masking and frequent testing. All undergraduate, graduate and professional students will be required to take a COVID (PCR or antigen) test before they return to Tulane in the fall. Instructions for uploading test results can be found here. Students who test positive should complete the COVID Reporting Form and a Case Manager will contact them to work through any adjustments that may need to be made relative to their arrival.
While we are optimistic that we are on the other side of this pandemic, we know it is not over and we still must continue to follow the best public health guidance from federal, state and local health officials. The past two years have taught us that anything can happen, so we remain prepared to respond and readjust our protocols and policies in reaction to changing circumstances. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding our new approach to this evolving situation.
Dean of Students