Loyola University New Orleans will resume on-campus operations for the fall semester, starting Aug. 24, with modifications to reduce social contact and prevent the spread of COVID-19 between students and community members.
Between Thanksgiving and the spring semester, students will take classes and finals entirely online, to reduce travel and the potential spread of COVID-19, according to the fall 2020 semester schedule.
“For students, that saves many of you the expense of two trips home and it protects our community from the exposures of travel,” University President Tania Tetlow said in a universitywide email.
The spring semester will also begin later, on Jan. 19, with an optional two-week January term for students, in order to give the university “additional flexibility to handle any disruption in the fall,” according to Tetlow.
Tetlow said that class times will be staggered to limit social interactions between classes. Classrooms will also be modified to keep students at least six feet apart, which may require outdoor teaching during good weather and larger classes to be divided into groups that alternate between virtual and in-person days.
The university is working with Oschner Health System to get more on-campus health resource as well as testing. On-campus students will also be subject to routine temperature checks and elevators and community spaces will have stricter capacity guidelines, according to the email.
Students with health vulnerabilities are asked to work with the university to create a plan for the fall, while faculty with health issues and those over the age of 65 are encouraged to teach the semester entirely online.
Tetlow said the university is still working to refine and evolve its policies for faculty as well as students, but is determined Loyola will survive this.
“I know we’ll get through this together. Because here is the thing— Loyola survived the last pandemic a century ago, and since then, two world wars and Katrina. To be a Jesuit institution means to be innovative, to solve problems with duct tape and ingenuity. To be Jesuit means to be ambitious on behalf of mission and determined beyond measure. And it means to create community regardless of distance, because our values and our passion get through any obstacle,” Tetlow said.