How is Loyola taking precautions to protect against coronavirus for the Fall 2020 semester?
Loyola has entered into a one-year consulting agreement with Ochsner Health System to help us with our planning for the Fall 2020 semester, 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.
What is Loyola's plan for testing?
We are not conducting regular testing of our entire student body for several reasons:
- Testing capacity locally (as with many areas nationally) is limited, and needed far more elsewhere. There are important moral issues with demanding those testing resources for baseline testing of college-age students, most of whom are among the lowest risk populations.
- Even if we did do a test of 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 it, and though we understand some universities are spending tens of millions on testing, we respectfully disagree with that use of resources at a moment like this given the very limited safety it will purchase.
As you know, Ochsner Health Systems has been advising us on all our fall planning. We recorded this brief video with some of the doctors on our team who explain how they’ve been assessing our campus to guide our plans. They also address the question of testing from their perspective as infection control experts.
Can symptomatic students get tested on campus?
Yes, we will have testing available at the Student Health Clinic by appointment. Students should call Student Health Services at 504.865.3326 to complete a phone screening and determine if testing is recommended. Additional testing is also available at In and Out Urgent Care and Ochsner Urgent Care. The city also operates testing stations throughout New Orleans.
Why are you not testing everyone if some students may be asymptomatic?
Testing captures a moment in time—for effective asymptomatic testing focused on reducing community spread, you would need to test daily, and get back immediate results. This is currently impossible.
Our best strategies for reducing spread are to follow social distancing and hygiene protocols, and engage in effective contact tracing so that students with confirmed exposure quarantine for the appropriate amount of time, whether or not they develop symptoms.
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.
All students are required to submit their COVID Positive Plan prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester and will follow outlined quarantine and isolation requirements.
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?
We can’t predict the future. We are determined to keep residence halls open. We tried to keep them open initially in March, but we weren’t ready yet. We feel ready now. 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.
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 cases on our website 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 NOLAReady.gov and texting COVIDNOLA to 888777.
How do I stay up to date on the status of coronavirus in New Orleans and Louisiana?
Have you considered making campus a "bubble" where students can't leave campus to prevent spread?
I don’t think that is viable in American higher education. Most of our students live off campus or are commuter students. They are, for the most part, adults. We work very hard to make sure that campus is not a place where the contagion happens. By educating the students and bringing them together safely, we are not increasing the risk.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pains
- 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 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. While waiting for the results, resident students will quarantine in designated “awaiting test results” rooms. Resident Life staff is available 24/7 to help students with this process. All other students should quarantine at home while waiting for results. 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 either the Ochsner COVID info hotline 24/7 at 844.888.2772 or Heather Blanchard in Human Resources at 504.864.7896 for additional guidance and inform your supervisor or department chair that you are leaving the office. 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.
What is the treatment for coronavirus?
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 are treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
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:
- 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, a person has to be less than 6 feet away from the COVID positive individual for more than 15 minutes. In our case, wearing a mask and being more than 6 feet away in a classroom setting would not be considered exposure.
Will there be a contact tracing program in place?
We are hiring a public health coordinator to direct and staff our contact tracing policies. We will hire and train additional contact tracers to help make phone calls and they will be trained through the Johns Hopkins contact training program.
If a hurricane occurs, how will you evacuate in a COVID-safe manner?
Students will need to complete both their COVID-positive plan and a hurricane evacuation plan prior to the start of the semester to document their plans. The vast majority of students will return home or accompany a friend to their home. If we have to evacuate to our hurricane evacuation destination, we will be able to bring international students only. Loyola has a plan in place for evacuating these students.
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.
Should we be wearing face masks?
Masks should 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. We’ve been doing a lot of training with faculty and staff. We will enforce through modeling the correct behavior. We are thinking of how to do that from a disciplinary perspective — this may include issuing a series of escalating warnings. Our focus has to be persuading rather than punishing. We are launching a social norming campaign. New Orleans has a mask order in place. It’s a place where people wear their masks and take it seriously. You can’t go into retail establishments without a mask.
Are masks readily available on campus if I forget mine at home?
Masks will be available for purchase in the C-store, all proceeds from purchasing a mask from the C-Store will go to Iggy’s Cupboard. If a student is facing financial hardship, masks will be available to students free of charge in Iggy’s Cupboard.
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 Fall 2020 semester will be expected to remain in the New Orleans area during the semester, refraining from unnecessary travel until we go home at Thanksgiving.