The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is asking student organizations to hold virtual meetings and activities through Sunday, Nov. 16. The request comes in response to an uptick of positive COVID-19 cases among students.
In a related development, UL Lafayette’s School of Music and Performing Arts has suspended all on-campus music-making activities. Dr. Jonathan Kulp, the School of Music’s director, announced the two-week suspension in a letter to students, faculty and staff members on Monday.
In a separate letter to the campus on Tuesday, Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, noted that the University temporarily halted student organization-related activities earlier this semester in response to a slight increase in positive COVID-19 cases.
“Then, as now, these limitations are not punitive, but precautionary,” he said.
“The bottom line is that we must slow the virus’ spread. Achieving this requires that we analyze the case data that’s available and act with vigilance and proactivity when we see movement in the wrong direction. The health and safety of our University family is far too precious to do otherwise.”
Savoie continued: “I’d like you to think also about your own families. As Thanksgiving approaches, your actions and activities – both on campus and particularly off campus – could affect relatives and others with underlying health conditions who are more susceptible to the virus.”
Student organizations that have approved, in-person events scheduled that cannot be held virtually should consult with the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership before proceeding, Savoie said.
“Many of these activities are outdoors, and that provides a healthier environment and one that enables greater social distancing. These include the ring ceremony, veterans cording, and Saturday’s football game at Cajun Field, where extensive safety protocols have been in place throughout the season. If you are going to the game, mask up, keep your distance and be mindful of the guidelines.”
As a result of the decision to limit in-person activities in the School of Music, the marching band and color guard will be absent from Saturday’s game, Savoie noted.
“We’ll certainly miss them and the music and spirit that they bring. I know it’s a sacrifice for them and for all our student musicians and faculty members who are affected by this decision.
“I appreciate their cooperation and diligence. I also want to thank members of our student organizations for their cooperation and agility as their activities have changed throughout the semester,” he said.
The University’s president urged members of the campus community to:
monitor their health daily and to stay home and seek medical attention if they have symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath;
wear a mask or face covering, both on and off campus;
keep at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others;
cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing and sneezing;
wash their hands for 20 seconds using water and soap; and
clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
In addition, he encouraged students, faculty and staff members to take advantage of free, on-campus COVID-19 testing. It is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Cypress Lake Plaza at the intersection of Hebrard Boulevard and Boucher Street. Find more about that resource here.
Savoie reminded students and faculty members that the Fall 2020 semester ends on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
There are only two weeks left in the semester, and the actions we take now can ensure that we safely and successfully reach its conclusion,” he said.
“The finish line is in sight, and we can get there – together.”