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Public Health Strategies

Tulane has implemented many new protocols and procedures to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate potential exposure for the university and New Orleans community. To help achieve this goal, every student, faculty and staff member shares in the responsibility to comply with these health protocols.

Tulane has made, and will make continue to make, every decision about our plans in close consultation with physicians and public health professionals. More information about our health strategies can be found below.

COVID-19 related testing, working and isolation/quarantine protocols for healthcare workers may vary due to the nature of their work. Specific directions or exceptions to stated protocols will be communicated to those employees by their senior leader.

 

 
 

 

About Coronavirus

The global health and safety community continues to learn about this new virus. Because this information is continually evolving, the information covered in this section provides a basic level of understanding regarding the virus. Refer to the CDC website for the latest information.

What is Coronavirus?

SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus that causes the illness COVID-19. Betacoronaviruses include viruses such as SARS-CoV-1, which was responsible for the outbreak of SARS in 2003, and MERS-CoV, which was responsible for the outbreak of MERS or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. A large percentage of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic (do not have any signs of infection) or have mild symptoms of COVID-19; however, these people can still spread the virus and have been found to be a significant source of transmission. Refer to the CDC website for the latest information.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 can experience mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms attributed to COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

For those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Students should schedule a telehealth visit through Campus Health Patient Portal or contact their healthcare provider.
  • Employees should contact their healthcare provider.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of COVID-19, seek emergency medical attention:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to be awakened
  • Bluish lips or face

Symptoms typically appear between two to fourteen (2-14) days after exposure to the virus. This is also known as the incubation period.  

How Does the Virus Spread?

COVID-19 is thought to spread through droplet formation (coughing, sneezing, or spraying of saliva or other respiratory secretions). Exposure happens when you come into direct contact with the secretions (droplets) of someone who has COVID-19 (being coughed or sneezed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.). Refer to the CDC website for the latest information.

Who is at a Higher Risk of Severe Complications from COVID-19?

While anyone can become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, health organizations around the globe have identified older adults (people aged 65 years and older), women who are pregnant, and individuals of any age with underlying medical conditions as those with a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.  Refer to the CDC website for the latest list of these health conditions.

A process is in place for employees to request a COVID-19 related job modification or ADA accommodation. A similar process is in place for students. Inquiries should be directed to the following:

Educational or Workplace Accommodation Requests

STUDENTS
Tulane Goldman Center
goldman@tulane.edu
504.862.8433

FACULTY
Kathyrn Lafrentz, ADA/504 Coordinator
klafrentz@tulane.edu
504.247.1751

STAFF
Human Resources & Institutional Equity
HR Business Partner
504.865.4748

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Face Coverings

Face coverings and masks are the simplest, cheapest, most effective way to significantly reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19. Other than when in a residence hall room or alone in a private office, faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear a face covering when on campus — including in classrooms.

The university will provide two cloth face coverings for all faculty, staff and students. Temporary face masks will also be available at multiple distribution points on campus. At this time, you can get masks at the Student Health Center. For more details, see the Face Covering/Mask Protocol.

The following is guidance for proper use of face coverings and masks:

  • Face coverings or masks can be disposable procedure masks, neck gaiters that can be pulled up over the face, washable cloth masks, or other face coverings as defined by CDC.
     
  • Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth.
     
  • Keep your face covering or mask clean. Washable face coverings should be washed daily with soap and the hottest water possible, and disposable masks should be replaced daily.
     
  • Do not share face coverings.
     
  • When in an office alone, no face coverings are required. Once another person enters the office space, face coverings are required for all.
     
  • Face coverings should be worn in combination with social distancing.
     
  • Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control).
     
  • Face coverings do not need to be worn while exercising outdoors if you are able to physically distance from others.

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Personal Hygiene

Everyone is personally responsible for proper hygiene practices to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. This includes very basic steps such as:

  • Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
     
  • Use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when hand washing is not possible. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout all campus buildings.
     
  • Avoid touching your face.
     
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and throw away used tissues and immediately wash hands.
     
  • Avoid close contact with others and with high-contact or frequently touched surfaces.
     
  • Do not share personal items such as phones, computers, food, drink, deodorant, shampoo, soap, hairbrushes or hair dryers.

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Social Distancing

Everyone is responsible for maintaining social distancing, also referred to as physical distancing. This means keeping a minimum of 6 feet between yourself and other people who are not from your household.

Social distancing means:

  • Staying 6 feet away from others as a normal practice.
     
  • Eliminating contact with others, such as handshakes or embracing coworkers, visitors or friends.
     
  • Avoid gathering in groups as well as crowded places.
General Social Distancing in Office Settings

When in an office setting, faculty and staff should use the following guidelines:

  • Office settings should be organized to ensure physical distancing to keep separation of employees at 6 feet as a minimum.
     
  • Avoid face-to-face desk layouts.
     
  • Barriers such as plexiglass should be installed when in shared workspaces.
     
  • Virtual meetings should be utilized. If an in-person meeting is necessary, capacity should not exceed 50% of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements.

Contact Campus Services if you have any questions or concerns.

Social Distancing in Classrooms

Through a variety of measures, Tulane has adjusted classroom capacity to achieve 6 feet of distancing. We have scheduled courses in classrooms that allow for the required distancing and have also constructed 13 large temporary classrooms. Plexiglass barriers have been installed throughout classrooms and other campus buildings. Finally, all courses will be technology-enhanced, with both in-person and online components. This technology assists with de-densification of classes, giving students significant in-person classroom time and discussions with their peers and instructors while allowing students who are in isolation or quarantine to continue their academic progress. Pass times — the time between classes — have also been expanded in order to facilitate social distancing practices.

Social Distancing in Common Areas

Indoor common areas, especially those shared with the general public or a larger volume of people, could pose an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Social distancing in these areas may also be more difficult to achieve.

Follow these guidelines to enable social distancing:

  • Avoid congregating in common areas and break rooms.
     
  • Ride in elevators based on posted capacity or take stairs whenever possible. When taking the stairs observe any directional signage.
     
  • Avoid standing in lines in dining areas and/or vending areas.
     
  • Use a less crowded bathroom if one is available to you or wait outside the bathroom until physical distancing inside the bathroom can be achieved.
     
  • Observe directional signage at building entries and exits.

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Daily Self-Check

Last Updated: September 2, 2020

All students and employees are expected to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms by completing a brief daily tracker prior to coming to campus for class or work or participating in a Tulane sponsored event off campus. A text is sent each morning with a reminder to do a COVID-19 Self-Check with a link to answer the screening questions. The questionnaire asks a few basic questions about COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure based on information published by the CDC. The questionnaire is brief and should take only a minute to complete. The questionnaire must be completed before going to work or class.

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you should contact Campus Health or your medical provider and NOT come to campus.

If Symptoms Appear After Reporting to Work or Class
  • If employees become ill after reporting to work, they should immediately notify their supervisor, leave the Tulane campus and contact their healthcare provider.
     
  • If a student becomes ill after reporting to class, they should leave class and immediately contact Student Health.
What if I’m not coming to campus?

Students and employees who are not on campus consistently but make occasional visits, must complete the questionnaire for each instance that they come to campus. Employees working remotely and students learning remotely do not need to complete the questionnaire.

What if I’m not receiving the daily self-check text?

If you are not receiving the daily prompt, you will need to update your information online. Otherwise, you can access the form by clicking here.

Updating your Cell Phone for Health Alerts

Who receives and/or reviews information from the COVID-19 Self-Check questionnaire?

The responses to the daily symptom tracker are provided to Campus Health. In addition to the above, daily symptom tracker data will be used for limited purposes, e.g. for COVID-19 exposure contact tracing through Campus Health, identification of trends or for Workers’ Compensation claims.

Tulane is committed to protecting your privacy. Responses to the daily symptom tracker will not be maintained in employee personnel or student files. Responses to the daily check are confidential and are stored in a secure, HIPAA-compliant server.

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Cleaning and Disinfecting

The university has intensified the cleaning and disinfection of campus facilities. Campus Services, in consultation with an external certified industrial hygienist, epidemiologists and Tulane’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, has developed detailed protocols for cleaning and disinfection. Campus Services and its contractors will utilize products approved by the EPA as effective against COVID-19. The following provides an overview of the cleaning and disinfecting practices at the university.

Scheduled cleaning

Keeping campus buildings clean and caring for our community is our top priority. We have implemented 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.

Custodians will continue to clean offices, workspaces, classrooms and public spaces based on the established protocols. Individuals should take additional care to wipe down commonly used surfaces. Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is also effective after contacting commonly used surfaces. Departments are responsible for managing their unit’s cleaning supplies.

Faculty and staff will be responsible for general cleaning and disinfecting of their workspaces throughout the day. This means cleaning high contact surfaces with cleaners prior to and after any in-person meetings, and after the use of any shared equipment or supplies. This will include desks, computers, keyboards, touch screens, phones, remote controls, copy machines and other equipment in offices or residence halls.

Students are responsible for daily cleaning of personal spaces (i.e. suite style bathrooms and bedrooms). Weekly custodial cleaning will be provided in suite style bathrooms and daily cleaning will be provided in community restrooms.

Contact Campus Services if you have any questions or concerns regarding cleaning procedures.

Post-Exposure Cleaning & Disinfection

A cleaning and disinfection protocol has been developed for cleaning workspaces occupied by a member of the Tulane community that is suspected or confirmed to be COVID-19 positive.

Contact Campus Services if you have any questions or concerns regarding cleaning procedures.

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Residence Halls

Please visit the Student Life page for more information.

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General Office Settings

The following general guidelines should be followed for all office settings throughout the university. If office specific guidelines have been provided, they should be followed in addition to those listed below:

  • Reconfigure or remove seats, furniture and workstations as needed to preserve recommended social distancing in accordance with guidelines.
     
  • Have guests/appointments call upon arrival, but prior to entering the building.
     
  • Post signage limiting use of copy machines, fax machines, etc. to only one person at a time.
     
  • When possible, keep office doors open.
     
  • Departments should provide cleaning supplies and require individuals to clean shared equipment (copy machines, fax machines, computers, etc.) after each use.
     
  • Prohibit the use of shared equipment that cannot be easily cleaned between use.
Common Kitchens, Breakrooms and Vending Areas

Faculty and staff should observe occupancy limits and avoid crowding of break rooms or other communal areas within an office. You are only permitted to remove your face covering in public spaces in order to eat. Wipe down the table and chair after each use. Shared break room food and beverage items should be removed, where possible. Reusable kitchenware (e.g., forks, plates) should not be used and should be replaced with disposable options. Items to consider eliminating include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Water coolers that cannot be changed to pedal or sensor activation
     
  • Coffee makers
     
  • Water fountains
     
  • Community ice tray or bins
     
  • Bulk snacks

Anything with shared handles, knobs or buttons - such as refrigerators and microwaves – should be wiped down before and after each use.

Conference Rooms

Utilize virtual meetings, such as Zoom, unless meeting in person is essential.

Observe social distancing: Remove or rearrange tables and chairs where necessary and move to a larger space if required. If more than one person is in a room, face coverings should be worn at all times.

When possible keep conference room doors open.

Meetings

When possible, meetings should be conducted virtually.
 
In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal guidelines and should not exceed 50% of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements. If you work in a personal office, no more than one person should be in the office unless the required 6 feet of distance can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, face coverings should be worn at all times.
 
Face coverings must be worn by every person in a reception/receiving area and face covering guidelines should be followed at all times.

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HVAC Protocols

For all university buildings, including Athletics:
  • Clean all outside air fresh-air intake units.
     
  • Open air handling units to widen air dampers so as to maximize outside air delivery to all air handlers on campus.
     
  • Disable all economizing setback programs in buildings that have CO2 sensors that adjust the outside air as a function of CO2 in the buildings. The outside air dampers will be set to stay wide open 24/7.
     
  • Higher volumes of outdoor air being introduced into the buildings; thus, we are adjusting the power plant to deliver 39-degree water to the campus. We typically run 42-degree water.
     
  • Commanding all exhaust air fans including kitchen hoods in the Commons and the LBC to run continuously 24/7 in order to maintain steady state of exhaust air circulation being recirculated in all buildings that have exhaust fans.
     
  • Upgrading filters from MERV8 to MERV11**, which have much better particle capture rates than the minimum filters that our units were designed for. Increasing filter replacement frequency from quarterly to bi-monthly.
     
  • Installing new box filters at Stern, which have filter efficiencies of up to 95%.
     
  • Replacing all of the UV lights in air handlers that have UV lighting to assure that these units are performing at maximum efficiency.
Residence Halls:
  • Cleaning all coils, vents, plenum, drains, replacing filters and checking individual unit operation.
     
  • Rebalance the air quantities to make the buildings negative so that we can increase the amount of outdoor air that is being introduced to these buildings through door cracks, window cracks, and force more air intake through the outside air make up system.
     
  • Upgrading filters from MERV8 to MERV11 in all dorm air handlers.
     
  • Performing preventive maintenance on all bathroom exhaust air blowers to make sure they are operating continuously and to assure that bathroom exhausts are pulling out as much air out of the dorms as possible.
Childcare Facilities:
  • Upgrading filters to MERV13 from MERV8 to increase filter efficiency and updating filter replacement frequency to monthly.
     
  • leaning all Window units at Newcomb Nursery and installing new filters on the window units and increasing filter replacement frequency to monthly.

**MERV ratings stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is an acronym created by ASHRAE, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, to provide a scale showing the effectiveness of filters at removing particles of different sizes. The higher MERV rating catches higher percentages of smaller particles. In working with the industrial hygiene firm, JS Held, we have determined that MERV11, not only provides a more efficient filter than what is required for our air handlers but as the filters get dirtier the efficiency gets even higher. MERV8 rating has a 40% efficiency and 90% arrestance. MERV11 has a 70% efficiency and a 95% arrestance. Arrestance is a measure of the ability of an air filtration device to remove synthetic dust from the air.

Increasing the filtering efficiency, decreases air volume.

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Facilities

Ingress and Egress

The following are controls implemented by the university:

  • Tulane signage placed at entrances with reminders for frequent hand washing and sanitization.
     
  • Hand sanitizer stations located throughout the entrances to campus buildings.
     
  • Signage, floor decals and markings will provide instructions on directional flow to assist in maintaining 6-foot social distancing where necessary.
Stairwells and Elevators

Stairwells may be designated for one-way traffic (up and/or down), except in emergencies.

  • Signage will be posted to direct which way to enter the stairwell.

Social distancing should be practiced in elevators.

  • Signage will be posted regarding the number of people allowed to occupy the elevator at one time.
     
  • Floor decals will be placed to indicate where people should stand within the elevators.
Lobby and Other Common Areas

Remove porous furniture, such as upholstered chairs and couches.

Regulate the use of common areas with clear signage (including maximum occupancy) and social distancing measures.

Signage will be placed throughout common areas with reminders for frequent hand washing and sanitization.

Plexiglass will be installed in locations where appropriate, such as:

  • Around receptionist areas and information desks
     
  • Mail rooms and residence hall offices
     
  • Computer or study rooms
     
  • Common area desks

Contact Campus Services if you have any questions or concerns.

Common Bathrooms

Other than the social distancing measures, Campus Services is responsible for implementing the following controls:

  • If multiple sinks are available in the bathroom, social distancing of 6 feet needs to be maintained when individuals use the sink.
     
  • Signage will be posted to limit the number of people in the bathroom at any given time.
     
  • For single restrooms, provide signage and materials (paper towels and trash cans) for individuals to use without touching sink or door handles.
     
  • Place signs asking employees to wash hands before and after using the restroom.
     
  • Provide paper towels in restrooms and disconnect or tape-off hand air dryers.
     
  • Personal hygiene product dispensers will be disabled, and signage posted to not use the dispensers.
     
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located outside of common bathrooms in residential housing.

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