A recent article from NOLA.com put Tulane University of Louisiana under the spotlight for how it has handled the coronavirus with the condemning headline: “Hundreds of Tulane students are placed under quarantine after coronavirus cases jump.” The University reported 333 positive cases since their testing program began on July 27th and welcomed about 13,600 students back to campus.
Though the University has implemented serious protocols and a rigorous testing program, it is still struggling to mitigate and extinguish the spread of the virus. However, the protocols in place include mandatory face coverings, social distancing, gatherings limited to less than fifteen people, among other measures advised by the CDC.
Recently the University has decided to make its already rigorous testing program even more aggressive. Tulane will now test on-campus residents twice a week and test off campus residents once a week. The justification for this change is that more aggressive testing curbs the spread of the virus as asymptomatic people are not transmitting the virus within the community.
Despite the changes the University has made, however, there remains a large degree of tension on campus regarding whether or not the University is doing the most it can. A poll conducted by Tulane’s newspaper, the Hullabaloo, found that 43% of students and staff would prefer to have instruction moved from in-person to online settings. This reflects the sentiment that some students and staff do not feel safe on campus.
On the other hand, however, some students are rushing to the University’s defense and maintain that the institution is doing its absolute best, especially when compared to other institutions of higher education. One such individual, Jordan Green, was featured in the article by NOLA.com with a statement that praised the University. Green said, “honestly I don’t know if I’m in the minority or the majority but I feel really safe here.” She continued to add that she has “already been tested twice” and applauded the other measures the university has implemented.
LSU has also reported a surge in cases and is instructing students to quarantine if they have been in contact with a positive individual. If one thing can be discerned as truth for colleges during this pandemic, it is that there is no way to prevent positive cases from emerging on campus. Even the most advanced and rigorous programs still have their drawbacks, and it is unlikely that campus life can or will return to normal until a vaccine is distributed and widely available.