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University Update

August 30, 2021
5 p.m.

Dear Tulane Community,

Now that Hurricane Ida has passed through the New Orleans region, we are surveying and securing our campuses. Due to catastrophic transmission damage to the city power grid, all of Orleans Parish is currently without power. Other pieces of critical infrastructure, including services associated with Sewerage & Water Board and the supply chain and critical labor for the region, may be impacted for several weeks. Like all in the region, Tulane experienced a range of damage that requires repair.

Due to the current lack of power and critical services in the city, we have decided to restructure the semester to allow for maximum in-person instructional time while also protecting the safety of our community. We are closing campus and cancelling classes through Sunday, September 12. The two weeks of canceled classes will be rescheduled at the end of the semester, allowing us nearly two and a half months of on-campus education following our return. Classes will resume online only beginning Monday, September 13 through Wednesday, October 6 to give the city time to repair and reinstate power and other critical services.

On Monday, October 11, following fall break, we will return to in-person classes on campus. Fall break, October 7 - October 10, will allow our students, faculty, and staff time to return to the city and campus prior to class resuming. This time working and learning virtually will allow us to prepare our campuses and ensure you will return to a safe, operational university and city. If the city’s return to normalcy is accelerated and circumstances permit, we may have the opportunity to bring our community back to campus sooner. More details will be shared in coming weeks, and future communications will address expectations for staff during this time.

Beginning tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., we will evacuate all remaining students (undergraduate and graduate; in-residence and off-campus) to Houston via bus – all students should pack no more than two pieces of luggage, their computer, and valuables. Students will receive details about evacuation procedures this evening. Students who make other arrangements must leave campus by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. Per City of New Orleans leadership, it is best if those students, faculty and staff who evacuated remain away from the city.

Tulane is currently establishing a hub in Houston to provide food and lodging at Tulane’s expense for students until they can get flights home. Emergency funds are available for students who need additional financial support. Please contact the office of the Dean of Students for more information. The School of Medicine will communicate directly with their students, faculty, and staff regarding their plans.

Students from Irby, Phelps, Paterson and Wall who were relocated to the Commons/LBC for safety can return to their residence halls to begin packing. Off-campus students, undergraduate and graduate, who did not evacuate are invited to come to the LBC, charge devices and eat at the Commons today only. Please use extra caution on surrounding streets – it is imperative that everyone continues to follow city restrictions and university instructions.
 
The challenges we’ve experienced during the past two academic years have well-prepared us for remote learning and work. We are confident that we will be able to effectively continue teaching, learning and working remotely while our emergency personnel work to address damages on campus, and across the city and region.

We are very thankful and counting our blessings – not least among them our students, faculty and staff. We are continually amazed and humbled by the Tulane community's fortitude, positivity and exceptional personal commitment. Many in our region have experienced widespread damages and we plan to participate in relief efforts to support our neighbors in need.

Please continue to monitor your email for daily updates from Tulane, which will also be posted at tulane.edu/emergency. We will continue to share updates as conditions change and improve.
For any questions, contact our Call Center at (504) 865-5000. In addition, you can continue to stay updated with Nola Ready emergency alerts at ready.nola.gov/alerts.

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