Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Tech, GSU talk campus virus safety

Friday, July 3, 2020
Article Image Alt Text

Courtesy photo

Louisiana Tech President Les Guice posted a picture on Twitter Wednesday wearing a mask near the Lady of the Mist on campus. Tech released an updated health practices policy the same day that will require students and employees to wear masks in all university buildings.

Both Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University made announcements Wednesday related to their plans to promote campus safety when students return to in-person classes in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Tech released an updated “safe health practices” policy regarding face masks, physical distancing and hygiene on campus, as well as a separate policy dictating how students and employees must respond if they test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms.

Meanwhile, GSU announced it will be making updates to numerous areas of campus to make them more “distancing-friendly.” A full reopening plan for Fall 2020 is expected Monday.


Students will return for select in-person classes in Tech’s second summer session on July 13 as a testing ground for the university’s updated safety protocols before the fall quarter begins in September.

These protocols include requiring masks or face coverings in all university buildings, including classrooms, hallways and shared office spaces.

This goes for students and employees, though instructors will be allowed to remove their masks while teaching if they are at least 8 feet away from the nearest student.

All classes and gatherings must be “dedensified” in order to meet state and federal guidelines for physical distancing, which may depend on which phase of reopening, if any, Louisiana is under at the time.

But the policy admits that there will be situations on campus where appropriate distancing cannot be achieved, in which case the enforcement of mask-wearing will be even stricter.

“In such situations, you may be asked to leave until you have a face mask,” the policy reads. “A refusal to leave or properly wear a face mask can result in discipline through the Student Code of Conduct or personnel action, as appropriate.”

Any student or employee who either tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits symptoms will be asked to selfisolate until cleared.

Students who live on campus will have the option of going home to self-isolate or doing so on campus. If the latter, they will be moved to special units specifically designated for isolation in Mitchell Hall. In either case, Student Affairs will frequently check on the isolated student.

Those in isolation must remain until either they’ve been without fever for 72 hours and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, or until symptoms have improved and they’ve received two separate negative COVID-19 test results 24 hours apart.

These isolation guidelines also apply to students or employees who have been in “direct contact” with someone who has tested positive or exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

Tech is following the Centers for Disease Control definition of direct contact: expo sure within a six-foot distance for more than 15 minutes.

Grambling State

According to a release on Sunday, GSU is still working on plans for the fall semester based on separate scenarios: full return to campus, continued distance learning or a hybrid combination of the two. The full plan is slated to release Monday.

In the meantime, the university announced it has won a $50,000 prize from The Home Depot’s 2020 “Retool Your School” competition. It will put this funding toward campus updates in Carver Hall, The Tiger Den, and other prominent outdoor areas of the campus.

The improvements will reportedly include energy-efficient lighting in interior common areas and outdoor green spaces, as well as modern furnishings that can be more easily moved apart to allow for social distancing.

“Our Student Affairs Team and SGA conducted a survey that received over 500 responses about where students felt the campus updates would be most beneficial,” said Gourjoine Wade, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We were able to combine some of the final suggestions into one multilayered project based on cost estimates, sustainability and the need for increased safety.”

Projects will also include new quiet rooms and relaxation spaces for students.

GSU became one of the competition winners by having its designated hashtag circulated the most times on Twitter, garnering hundreds of thousands of tweets.