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COVID-19 Update

November 8, 2020

Dear Tulane Parents,

As you may be aware, we have a seen a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among our on-campus undergraduate students. Many of these cases can be directly traced to poor decision-making post Hurricane Zeta and during the Halloween weekend. I am writing to you today to ask for your help — please encourage your student to closely follow health protocols to fight the spread of the virus and to make sure that all students can safely return home in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We have responded swiftly and strategically to contain this outbreak. Part of that strategy has included opening additional isolation space for students who have tested positive. Please be assured, we have the capacity to house any student who needs to be isolated due to COVID-19. We have also implemented a number of additional precautions that will be in place for the remainder of this semester.

Testing: The frequency of testing has been increased to three times per week for all on-campus undergraduates. Students in some residence halls with higher case numbers are being tested daily.

PARENT ACTION: Your student has received testing orders. Please encourage them to comply with testing requests immediately.

Restricted Access: We have suspended the visitation privileges allowing students to visit friends in other residence halls for the remainder of the semester. Some students are further restricted to on-floor visitation only and specific dining options through Nov. 11.

PARENT ACTION: Please encourage your student to follow these safety precautions. We’ve seen a significant uptick in cases in some residence halls, and it is imperative that we isolate those students.

Contact Tracing: Our contact tracers are reporting that students are being non-responsive and resistant to sharing information about close contacts. This is perhaps one of the greatest risks facing our community at this time.  

PARENT ACTION: Please talk to your students about the importance of being responsive and honest regarding their close contacts. Non-compliance or reporting purposefully false information will lead to official conduct consequences, and more importantly may have dire consequences to our community.

Exit Testing: We will be sharing more details later this week regarding exit testing, but a key component of the program is the requirement for every on-campus student to test negative before traveling home for final exams and the winter break. If students test positive after Nov. 15, they will be unable to travel home in time for Thanksgiving, since they will be in isolation.

PARENT ACTION: Encourage your student to follow all testing requirements, safety and health protocols, and remain vigilant as we bring this semester to a close. We are encouraging them to limit their off-campus activities to only those that are essential for the remainder of the semester. Students should also only associate with a core group of friends who they know are following all of the COVID-19 safety measures to limit exposure.

We know this has been an exceptionally challenging semester for our community, and especially our students. They have adjusted remarkably well to the realities of being in college during a global pandemic. They have weathered a very active hurricane season and confronted many other challenges while also managing the academic demands of a semester with virtually no breaks. We have been inspired by the resilience your students have shown and are deeply appreciative of the confidence you’ve placed in us and the support you have given us. We’re almost to the finish line but need your continued help and support to complete this semester successfully.

One final note, on Monday, Nov. 16 at 6:00 p.m. CST, President Fitts will host a Town Hall meeting for students and parents to discuss our plans for spring semester. Please save the date and stay tuned for more information about how to sign up for this event.

Sincerely,

Erica Woodley
Dean of Students