March 17, 2020
Those of you who chose to remain on campus and in New Orleans during the COVID-19 outbreak should know that we expect that the city and state will continue to take more stringent actions designed to mitigate the spread of this virus. At the time of this letter, all bars, movie theaters, gyms and casinos are closed. Some restaurants remain open, but only for take-out, delivery and drive through.
On campus, we are beginning to scale back operations to accomodate the reduction in our work force. The Governor’s orders required that we transition the Commons to a take-out option, and we have closed other dining options, as well. Shuttle services have been reduced to TapRide only with service to limited locations, consistent with local closures.
We anticipate additional, stricter measures will be forthcoming. Nationally, we have seen cities choose to implement a full-scale lock down. If this happens in New Orleans, we will move to a shelter-in-place protocol and you may not be able to leave New Orleans as a result.
If you live on-campus, please be prepared for the potential that Housing & Residence Life may need to relocate you for safety reasons. If you intend to remain living on campus past 12pm on Sunday, March 22nd, and have NOT yet completed the Housing Exception Request form, it is critical that you do so as soon as possible. Students that are capable of returning home should do so by Sunday, March 22nd.
If your initial decision to stay in New Orleans was based on convenience, a desire not to leave friends, or because your hometown was more impacted at that time by COVID-19, now is the time to reconsider. New Orleans currently has the second highest rate of infection per capita in the United States. If you are staying because you don’t have alternative options, please don’t panic. The next few weeks will likely be uncomfortable, but we will get through this. Make good decisions regarding social distancing to protect yourself and our community.
I know the last several days have been filled with anxiety, feelings of uncertainty and continually changing information. Please do what you need to take care of yourself and remember, classes will resume online on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Dean of Students