November 5, 2020
I hope you are getting reacclimated after Hurricane Zeta’s disruptions last week. We received reports, photos and videos of Halloween parties hosted by Tulane students and attended by students who were not adhering to COVID-19 health guidelines (wearing masks and social distancing) in the downtown and French Quarter areas. We are addressing these reports through the Office of Student Conduct.
I am writing today because we are seeing very specific consequences of this reckless behavior. After days of very low – and in some cases zero positive cases, we are seeing an increase that can, in many cases, be directly attributed to decisions made over the Halloween weekend. We really need to get ahead of this to prevent spread of what could ultimately impact the ability of you or your peers to return home for the holidays or to participate fully in final exams. To that end, we are implementing additional precautions:
- Elevated Testing: We are increasing testing this week for all undergraduates to three times per week. When you receive the email from Campus Health prompting you to be tested, please schedule a test immediately. We need to quickly identify any students who are positive and remove them and their close contacts from the community. For the next week, undergraduate students may use the Phelps or Paterson Testing Centers to accommodate additional testing.
- Restricted Residence Hall Visitation: We are discontinuing the cross-residence hall visitation privilege. Beginning at 2 p.m. today, students will not be permitted in any residence hall in which they do not have a permanent assignment.
- Contact Tracing: It remains critical that, if you test positive, you give an honest account of your close contacts. Over the semester, we have been able to prevent the spread of COVID by detecting positives among close contacts as they quarantine.
- Testing Compliance: We will be closely monitoring testing compliance during this time – failure to comply with these testing requirements may result in interim removal from the community.
- Extended Testing Center Hours: The Uptown Testing Centers will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There may be additional testing availability beyond Friday and Saturday, please check the Campus Health Patient Portal for the most up-to-date scheduling information.
We have just over two weeks of classes remaining. Please continue to adhere to the behavioral standards set forth at the beginning of the semester. I know you are all tired of these restrictions and of my emails. I also know how challenging this semester has been. I am really proud of how far we’ve come – but we are not there yet. Please be extra thoughtful about the decisions you make in the coming weeks. The consequences could be more personally significant – potentially impacting travel and winter recess – for students who are exposed or test positive for COVID-19 at the end of the semester.
Dean of Students