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Coronavirus FAQs

How is Loyola taking precautions to protect against coronavirus for the academic year?

Loyola, in consultation with Ochsner Health, has implemented COVID-19 safety protocols for this academic year, and we will continue to work with Ochsner to support our Student Health Clinic. Ochsner Health is one of the finest healthcare systems in the country and a longtime partner of Loyola. For over a decade, Ochsner Health has delivered medical care at Loyola Student Health Services, led training and care for the Athletics Department, implemented telemedicine for students, trained campus medical and housing staff, and provided on-call health services to students.

With the support of Ochsner, we've created a comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan. Please review our Return to Campus and Health and Safety pages for more information.

What is Loyola's plan for testing?

All students returning to campus for the January term and/or Spring 2021 term must submit COVID testing prior to arrival on campus. Any student who will reside in one of our residence halls must present a negative COVID test five days before their assigned move-in date. Any student who plans to be on campus for any reason must also submit a negative test five days before arriving on campus. If you are fully virtual and have no plans to come to campus in the spring, you do not need to submit a test. Additional plans for student testing will be shared via email as plans are finalized.

At this time, we do not currently plan to conduct regular surveillance testing of our entire student body throughout the semester. Even if we tested everyone at one particular moment, it would provide us information and assurance for a very fleeting period. It is a mere snapshot. Testing is no substitute for the fact that we all have to assume that we might be contagious and act accordingly, every day. As such, neither the CDC, nor state and local health officials are recommending regular surveillance testing of our community. 

What testing options are available on campus?

We have testing available at the Student Health Clinic by appointment for symptomatic students, faculty, and staff. Call Student Health Services at 504.865.3326 to complete a phone screening and determine if testing is recommended. For students, faculty, and staff who are asymptomatic, additional testing is available at In and Out Urgent Care and Ochsner Urgent Care. The city also operates testing stations throughout New Orleans.

Does Loyola plan to offer COVID vaccination in the future, and if so, is there an estimated timeline for this?

Effective Monday, March 29, everyone in Louisiana ages 18 and older is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is available to those 16 and older. Check our Vaccine FAQs for more information.

What happens if there is a confirmed case on campus?

If a case of COVID-19 virus is confirmed on campus, we will follow city, state, and national guidelines. This includes notifying the community. Those who have had close contact with the patient will be contacted for quarantine.  

You can check our Health and Safety Notices for a current count of positive cases on campus. 

All students were required to submit their COVID Positive Plan prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Any new student planning to reside on campus in Spring 2021 will be required to submit their COVID Positive Plan.  

Faculty and staff should consult the Reporting Illnesses page for instructions on how to report potential exposure or a confirmed positive test for COVID-19.

What if there is a limited outbreak of coronavirus on Loyola’s campus?

We have created a designated isolation ward in our residence halls to keep resident students safely isolated in the case of a positive COVID-19 test result. As outlined in our COVID Positive Plan, Student Health Services is prepared to consult and treat students showing symptoms of COVID-19. Faculty and staff are prepared to make a fast and seamless pivot to fully online learning if that becomes necessary. We will follow all updated guidelines from city and state officials.

Is there a chance of a mass move out again like we had to do in March 2020?

We can’t predict the future. We are determined to keep residence halls open. There could be circumstances where government officials ask us to shut down. But we would like to be in a place where, even if there is an outbreak in New Orleans or on campus, we can keep residence halls open and go entirely online. The Loyola community did a great job upholding our health and safety policies for the Fall 2020 semester, and we are confident that students, faculty, and staff will continue to prioritize our community.

​Is the Emergency Notice system set up to alert us by phone in the event of an outbreak on campus?

Students will be notified via text for an imminent emergency. We will also track daily the number of positive cases and the number of quarantined students on our Health and Safety Notices page as an ongoing communication strategy. Students and families may also follow data provided by the City of New Orleans by registering for emergency alerts at and texting COVIDNOLA to 888777.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pains
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Digestive issues or diarrhea
  • New loss of smell or taste

Review our Daily Symptom Assessment for a full list of identified COVID-19 symptoms.

What should I do if I am presenting the symptoms of coronavirus?

Students, faculty, and staff should all be using the #CampusClear daily health screening app to report symptoms, exposure, and positive test results. 

Students experiencing COVID symptoms should call Student Health Services (SHS) at 504.865.3326 for a telephone screening, available Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. After hours and on weekends, students can call the Ochsner COVID info hotline 24/7 at 844.888.2772. When you complete a telehealth consultation, the health care provider will determine if a COVID test is recommended and direct you to a testing location, available at the Student Health Clinic or nearby urgent care centers. If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, please contact SHS immediately to enact your COVID Positive Plan.

Faculty and staff experiencing symptoms while in the office, should distance themselves immediately from anyone in the area. Contact a public health coordinator at 504.865.3757 and inform your supervisor or department chair that you are leaving the office. You should also contact the Ochsner COVID info hotline 24/7 at 844.888.2772 or your medical provider for additional guidance. Your identifying and medical information will be kept confidential. Read the full Reporting Illnesses page for more details.

What is the incubation period?

Currently, the CDC believes that symptoms appear between 2-14 days after exposure. Coronavirus can be transmitted person-to-person. Additional information about coronavirus symptoms can be found on the CDC website.

How do I prevent coronavirus?

While there is still much that is unknown about the virus, we know what we can do to reduce our risk for infection from many infectious diseases:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water thoroughly, for 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
    • This helps to contain your germs without contaminating your hands. Use a tissue over your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and dispose of dirty tissues immediately.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth since germs spread this way.
  • Do not share drinks or eating utensils with anyone.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces that may be contaminated with germs like the flu, such as doorknobs, keyboards, and phones.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep/rest.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids.

How is "close contact" determined for exposure to the virus?

To constitute exposure, you have to be less than 6 feet away from someone for 15 minutes or more cumulatively over a 24-hour period starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before that person had any symptoms or tested positive. If you meet the criteria for close contact, you must quarantine for 10-14 days from the incident.

Who is doing contact tracing for students/faculty/staff?

We have hired public health coordinators who will coordinate contract tracing of people in the Loyola community. They will have a team of student workers who have been trained through the Johns Hopkins contact training program to help with this. If at any point we need to increase contract tracer capacity, we will do so. Contact our public health coordinators at

How does our internal contract tracing process interact with the state's process?

The state has a separate process, but we will report any known positives to the state and coordinate our efforts with the state.  

Will COVID-positive individuals have to speak to both the Loyola Public Health Coordinators and the Louisiana Department of Health?


If a student tests positive, will the other students in those classes be notified that there has been a positive test?

People will be notified if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Close contact is defined as being within less than 6 feet away from the COVID-positive individual for at least 15 minutes cumulatively over a 24-hour period.

What is the procedure if you are notified that you have been in close contact with someone with a positive test?

An exposed student, faculty member, or staff member must quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether s/he has received a negative test. This is because the time from exposure to potential infection is 14 days. For example, a negative test on day 5 does not predict that infection will not develop on day 8.

Will faculty be notified of the names of exposed students in addition to COVID-positive students?

For undergraduate and graduate students, Student Affairs will send a note informing professors that student X either:

  1. Needs to quarantine, and is attending classes online until _________.
  2. Is ill, and requests flexibility around deadlines and absences.

Davida Finger will handle the notification process for students at the College of Law.

Is there amnesty for students who violate school policies, so that they can report their contacts honestly?

Yes. We want to encourage students to be honest if they must speak with a Contract Tracer about where they have gone and who they may have interacted with in case they contract COVID-19. So that students feel comfortable sharing where they have gone and who they have interacted with to a Contract Tracer, students will not receive punitive sanctions for any information they disclose to a Contact Tracer that would otherwise constitute a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or the COVID-19 Addendum to the Student Code of Conduct. Students receiving amnesty may still receive educational resources or be required to meet with a representative from Student Health, or their designee, to ensure they understand health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19.

Will there be closure and enhanced cleaning of any spaces after a positive COVID test?

Residence hall rooms will be sanitized following a positive test. We are asking faculty and students to clean their desks and lecterns upon arrival and there are cleaning supplies provided. The research shows that while COVID can linger on surfaces for some hours, it can be removed with disinfectant. That’s why we need students/faculty to wipe down desks in classrooms. Faculty who have special concerns about a classroom can contact facilities to request additional cleaning. Additionally, all common spaces are cleaned on a daily basis.  

What if I have scheduled travel?

All non-essential work travel for faculty and staff is suspended at this time. Personal travel is discouraged. Employees who engage in personal travel, especially if the location is identified by the CDC as a hotspot/travel advisory location, are expected to report this to their supervisor and HR. The employee will be required to work from home for 14 days. If they do not experience any COVID-related symptoms during that period, then they can return to work. 

All students living in on-campus or off-campus housing during the Spring 2021 semester will be expected to remain in the New Orleans area during the semester, refraining from unnecessary travel until the end of term. This includes planning for a safe and responsible Mardi Gras.

Should we be wearing face masks?

Masks must be worn while on Loyola's campus and in public settings. View our full policy for wearing face masks/coverings.

Will wearing of masks be strictly enforced?

Yes, for those of us who work on campus and for students it will be strictly enforced. New Orleans has a mask order in place, including fines for failure to wear a mask. It’s a place where people wear their masks and take it seriously. You can’t go into public or retail establishments without a mask. Reports of faculty, staff, and students who violated the mask policy occurred in Fall 2020. Incidents that did take place were responded to with swift remedial action. 

What is social distancing? How do I do it?

Social distancing is a public health safety intervention used to reduce the likelihood of transmitting communicable disease. Social distancing involves minimizing exposure to infected individuals by avoiding large public gathering venues, adhering to spacing requirements in the workplace, and following proper personal hygiene practices. Review our guide for proper social distancing while on Loyola's campus.

How do I stay up to date on the status of coronavirus in New Orleans and Louisiana?

For the most immediate updates on the spread of COVID-19, we recommend these resources: 

You can also text COVIDNOLA to 888777 to receive alerts from NOLA Ready.

Where do I go for more support?

If you are a student experiencing stress or concerns related to basic needs or challenges outside of the classroom, please fill out this form: Loyola partnered with Inside Track, our trusted coaching partner, to expand our support to students during these unprecedented times. Students looking for resources like food, insurance, housing, and adjustment to online classes can reach in for a coaching session. Inside Track coaches are equipped to support students from any location.