December 23, 2021
Dear Tulane Community:
As the year and semester come to a close, we are busy making preparations for the spring 2022 semester.
In light of the current national surge in COVID-19 cases, driven largely by the emergence of the Omicron variant, we are delaying the start of the spring semester for our undergraduate population by one week. The first day of classes for undergraduates, originally scheduled for Jan. 18, will now be rescheduled to Jan. 25. Deans will communicate any changes for graduate and professional programs directly to students enrolled in these programs.
As we confront a changing health situation and a new variant, we are implementing this one week delay to ensure we have appropriate health precautions in place for when we bring undergraduate students back. As originally scheduled, RAs and more than 3,000 students participating in Spring Panhellenic Recruitment, who arrive on campus before the start of classes, would return to campus less than two weeks from now, which we believe would be too early given the current circumstances.
This one week delay will also give students more time to get their booster shots. Like faculty and staff, all students will be required to receive a booster shot once they become eligible for one – usually 6 months after completing their initial COVID vaccine 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 email@example.com.
With the flexibility that is built-in to the academic calendar for weather emergencies and other contingencies we will be able to implement this one-week delay and still have an on-the-ground semester with the currently scheduled days off for Mardi Gras, Spring Break and other holidays. The date of Commencement 2022 will also remain the same.
The national and citywide response to COVID-19 continues to be an evolving one. This letter provides a general framework on how the next semester will be conducted, based on the latest and best information and guidance. As always, we will continue to monitor this situation and will inform you of any changes to our schedule or additions to our protocols.
Move-In/Recruitment/New Student Orientation
Under this revised schedule, move-in for undergraduates will now be approximately one week later than their originally scheduled day. Housing and Residence Life will be following up this community notice with an email to all residents with the new move-in information. You can also find move-in information and a full schedule on the Housing and Residence Life website. We also urge off-campus undergraduate students to delay their return to New Orleans until the weekend of Jan. 22-23, reminding them that there will be no campus dining or other student services available for them prior to this time.
The delayed start to the spring semester will push previously scheduled student organization events one week forward. Some events may switch to a virtual format. Current Panhellenic sorority members and Panhellenic recruitment registrants will receive information directly from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Programs outlining the updated recruitment plans. In alignment with the revised beginning date for undergraduate classes, all Panhellenic Recruitment events will be a week later than originally planned. Interfraternity Council Recruitment dates will also be a week later. Please consult the Fraternity and Sorority Programs website for more information.
New Student Orientation and the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) orientations, events, and programs will also shift to align with the revised start date of the semester, and all incoming new students and transfers will attend New Student Orientation (NSO) on Jan. 23. Please consult the New Student Orientation website and the Office of International Students and Scholars website for more information.
Staff Reporting Date
The staff reporting date of January 5 remains unchanged.
At this time, the requirement that everyone, regardless of their vaccine status, wear masks while inside any university building will remain in place.
Pre-Arrival Testing/Booster Requirement
- All students are encouraged to quarantine for 5 to 7 days prior to their return to New Orleans.
- All students (undergraduates, graduates, and professional) must take a COVID test 48 to 72 hours before their return to Tulane. Test results must be uploaded to Campus Health here.
- If your test is positive, remain where you are and isolate for 10 days. Do not come to any Tulane campuses or buildings for any reason prior to the end of this 10-day period.
- If your test is negative, we strongly encourage you to mask when in indoor public spaces between your negative test and return to Tulane.
- All members of the Tulane community will be required to test at a Tulane COVID-19 testing center within a week of their return for work and classes. You will be sent a QR code notifying you to schedule your testing appointment. If you do not receive a QR Code within a week of your return to campus, please email CHTestResults@tulane.edu.
- Any students, faculty and staff who have already received a COVID-19 booster at a location other than one of the Tulane Vaccine Clinics, or who receive such a booster during winter break, must upload their records to Campus Health here. All students, faculty and staff will be required to receive a booster shot once they become eligible for one – usually 6 months after completing their initial COVID vaccine series.
Residence Hall Visitation
- Residence hall visitation will be limited to on-campus residents only at the start of the semester.
- New students may have parents/family members assist them as they move into their residence hall rooms. Parents and family members should be prepared to show proof of vaccine (at least two doses) or a negative COVID-19 test 48-72 hours before they will be allowed entry to residence halls.
COVID-19 has been a part of our lives longer than most of us were expecting. It remains a threat that has challenged, but not dampened the Tulane spirit. Nor has it diminished our commitment to education and research, or the joy of discovery and the happiness we experience in one another’s company. We are profoundly appreciative of the flexibility the Tulane community has demonstrated throughout this pandemic and grateful for your understanding as we make this latest adjustment to our schedule. We are also grateful to the many staff members who are giving up their holiday break to care for students currently in isolation and are working tirelessly to ensure a safe return for students to a new year and new semester. Finally, we extend our wishes for a happy and well-deserved holiday season and winter break for you, your family and friends.
Michael A. Fitts, President
Robin Forman, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Patrick Norton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer