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Public Health Strategies

We are taking a variety of precautions, developing new policies and procedures, and working with local vendors to limit the spread of the COVID-19 and to protect those currently working on campus and those who will be returning as we reopen the University for in-person education. Every student, faculty, and staff member who will be part of the Tulane community this fall will have to meet certain health and safety requirements designed to keep members of both the Tulane and New Orleans community safe. While parts of our plan are evolving, they include the basics we all know well by now: physical distancing, the wearing of face coverings, encouragement of frequent hand washing, and enhanced cleaning of the environment.

Tulane University is completing a comprehensive assessment of both living and learning spaces on campus to operationalize these essential elements to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. Tulane has made and will make every single decision about our plans in close consultation with physicians and public health professionals. More information about our health strategies can be found below.

Daily Symptom Checking

All faculty, staff and students will be required to track their symptoms daily, likely with the use of a mobile app. Beginning in July, when the campus population begins to increase, daily text reminders will be sent.

If an employee exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms, they should contact a healthcare provider immediately and NOT report to work.

If a student exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms, they should contact Student Health immediately and NOT report to class or related activities.

Face Coverings & Personal Hygiene

The following protocol will help to protect you and all in the community.

Students, faculty and staff are expected to wear face coverings in common areas, including classrooms. The university will provide two cloth face coverings for all faculty, staff and students. Disposable face coverings will also be available to others who might arrive without one. There will be multiple distribution points on campus – at this time, you can get masks at the Uptown Student Health Center. For more details, see the Face Covering/Mask Protocol.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

If possible, do not share items such as phones, computers, desks or other work tools or equipment.

Frequent handwashing, with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, is highly encouraged. If soap and water is not available, hand sanitizers will be placed around campus in high-traffic common areas.

The university has also purchased a supply of sanitizing wipes for use on surfaces such as desks and chairs. Faculty, staff and students should disinfect their own work areas and living areas frequently including high-touch items, such as computer keyboards and phones.

Physical Distancing

All returning students, faculty and staff members are required to wear face coverings and observe strict social distancing. This means maintaining six-feet separation, judged from head to head, for any contact longer than 10 minutes, unless closer proximity is allowed by physical barriers. Separation is recommended even for brief interactions. This rule applies in classrooms, labs, dining halls, lounges, gyms and other communal spaces. It is not negated by the wearing of face coverings, which are required in any event except for dining. Please note that this guidance is subject to change as public health conditions evolve.

Meetings and Spaces

Limited occupancy with rotating schedules will be used to maintain social distancing in public spaces. Dining, for example, is planning to reduce seating capacity, provide markings for social distancing, maintain counts at entrances and exits to control occupancy, and add outside locations for access to dining options. Physical barriers will be provided in many common areas, at public-service locations (such as dining hall cashiers, help desks, and customer-service points of access). The university is currently assessing all institutional spaces to determine new capacities and will release further guidelines in the coming weeks.

Employees should continue meeting online until further notice.

Testing & Contact Tracing

Tulane will have a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan that will include students, faculty and staff. Certain elements of the plan are still being developed and more details will be provided in the coming weeks. Below, however, are the elements of the university’s testing strategy that are settled:

Current Testing:

  • Currently, we are offering voluntary testing for faculty, staff, contract employees and students who are returning to work or are in research settings that require them to be on one of our campuses.
  • Beginning in July, faculty, staff and students on our campuses will be required to participate in our COVID-19 testing program at one of Tulane’s testing facilities – uptown and downtown locations will be announced soon. We are working collaboratively with the LDH to effectively trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus.

Fall Testing:

  • There will be a monthly rotation testing approximately 5% of the Tulane community daily. Please monitor your email for information about when you should report to the testing center.
  • Turnaround to receive test results currently takes approximately 24 hours. Employees will be notified of a positive result via email and/or phone call and given direction on what actions to take.
  • Once classes start, in addition to testing, we will be monitoring a variety of factors, including wastewater, symptomatic and asymptomatic test results, information from the daily COVID-19 check and city and state data to make decisions about increased actions during the fall semester.

Contact Tracing:

  • Individuals who test positive, or who report being positive with COVID-19, will receive follow-up from a Tulane contact tracer.
  • Identified contacts to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be notified and provided with assistance to get tested and to enact isolation/quarantine protocols.
  • Tulane is working collaboratively with the Louisiana Department of Health to effectively trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus beyond campus.


  • All information related to COVID-19 testing will be kept confidential. Tulane will not disclose the name of any person with COVID-19. In the case of employees, the contact tracer will connect them with their Human Resources Business Partner for assistance.
Quarantine & Isolation

Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms, have been exposed or have tested positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine or self-isolate in their residences. Students who test positive for COVID-19 or who are a contact to a known case on campus will isolate in the Paterson Infirmary. This will be available to both graduate and undergraduate students and those who live both on and off campus.

Cleaning Protocols

Keeping campus buildings clean and caring for our community is our top priority. We will continue to implement enhanced cleaning protocols in all Tulane facilities. This includes focusing on high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, tables, faucets, doorknobs and other surfaces in shared spaces.

If a member of the Tulane community is suspected or confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, we will ensure deep cleaning and disinfection protocols are implemented immediately in areas occupied by that individual.

In addition to these efforts, we ask that you follow CDC guidelines in disinfecting personal living and office spaces including workstations, keyboards, phones and other personal property.

Cleaning tips include:

  • Using soap and water or appropriate cleaners for surface areas.
  • Wear disposable gloves when disinfecting.
  • Apply an appropriate disinfectant allowing a film to remain on the surface for the designated amount of time.
  • When cleaning and disinfecting electronics, spray liquids onto a soft cloth and wipe down devices and wires. Avoid getting moisture into USB ports, headphone jacks, and other openings.
  • For disinfection, use products recommended by the EPA