March 15, 2020
Dear Tulane Parents,
I am writing to provide an update about the current status at Tulane and in New Orleans. While the Tulane community has no known cases of COVID-19, over the past 24 hours the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has doubled in New Orleans, and the city has experienced its first two deaths from the virus. Many of our on-campus students have departed for home — we have around 400 remaining on-campus. It was important to us to have a process through which students could request to stay on campus, given that some may have extenuating circumstances.
It seems as though many of our off-campus students (estimated at 1,500) have decided to remain in New Orleans. We will be issuing a survey soon to get a sense of the off-campus students remaining in town. If your son or daughter stayed, we would appreciate your support in getting them to complete the survey.
Our students seem to be struggling with the notion of social distancing. Let me be clear, I think this is a challenge for everyone, but we are hearing from many concerned neighbors, parents and other community members about what seems like a blatant disregard for this instruction. Please help us to remind your student that attending large parties or gatherings — even with people who are not showing symptoms at this time — can lead to more community spread. Students who engage in these behaviors are putting their health, and the health of others, at risk. This behavior will lead to other community-wide issues and likely increase the time we are dealing with COVID-19. As we work with both local and statewide government, there are concerns that there will be limited access to healthcare as COVID-19 spreads in the community. Our students need to understand the impact their behavior may have on the community and the nation.
In order to do our part to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Tulane will be implementing flexible work policies. This does not mean that there will be no one on campus, but it does mean there will be fewer people on campus. The public schools in New Orleans have closed, which will inevitably place additional stresses on our work force. Please continue to monitor university-wide communications for updates about campus resources.
Again, thank you for your patience as we work through this difficult time.
Dean of Students