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Re-instating Indoor Mask Mandate

December 10, 2021

Dear Tulane Community:

After announcing on Monday that the Omicron variant was identified from a COVID-19 test administered to a Tulane graduate student, our surveillance testing has revealed new probable Omicron cases within the Tulane community. As always, individuals who test positive for any type of COVID-19, the vast majority of whom are asymptomatic, are being isolated and their close contacts are being notified. Now is the time to recommit ourselves to the protocols that we know are effective in limiting the spread of this virus so that everyone can enjoy their holiday plans, and have a happy, healthy winter break.

In this spirit, we are requiring that everyone, regardless of their vaccine status, wear masks while inside campus buildings from now through the end of the year, effective immediately. We understand that many of you may not have a mask with you at the moment. In this case, there are free mask dispensers in many campus buildings and you can also purchase masks at most vending machines, and at the bookstore on the uptown campus. We ask everyone’s forbearance as we all make good faith efforts to transition to this new policy. We also encourage moving all non-essential gatherings where food and drinks are served to an outdoor location and continuing to follow all CDC guidance.

Even more so than masking, receiving booster vaccines is an effective way to protect yourself and the community against Omicron and other COVID-19 variants. While we have a primary vaccination rate of nearly 97 percent, we urge everyone over 16 years of age to get a booster shot six months after completion of their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.

To schedule an appointment to receive your booster at one of Tulane’s Vaccine Clinics, use this link. If you have any questions, please email covidvaccine@tulane.edu. Please note that our vaccine supply is limited. If you have trouble getting an appointment at one of the university’s clinics, remember that many local pharmacies and hospitals also provide free boosters.

While we are closely monitoring the number of Omicron cases on campus, it is important to remember that the high frequency of our asymptomatic testing means that we are able to detect many COVID-19 cases that would otherwise go unnoticed. Also, our ability to sequence this new variant (technology few other entities in the city and state have) means that we are much more likely to detect its presence.

We remain confident that following established COVID-19 protocols and receiving our boosters will help protect our community. At this point, all of us are weary of safety protocols and precautions related to this long-lingering global pandemic. But, if we summon the Tulane spirit once again, we have every confidence that we will complete another on-ground semester successfully and Tulane strong.

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