Louisiana Tech announces Phase One plan for reopening
Today, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the state will move into Phase One of the federal Opening Up America Again plan.
In accordance with this plan, Louisiana Tech University will begin to move toward bringing a limited number of essential employees back onto campus, with a plan of having students, faculty, and staff all back on campus beginning in the Fall 2020 quarter. Classes were moved to an online delivery method beginning March 16. The University acted swiftly as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Louisiana, migrating over 1,700 face-to-face courses online in about 72 hours.
“Our priorities for this phase remain the same as the day we first learned about COVID-19,” said Tech President Dr. Les Guice. “We will continue to innovate and lead in our city, state, and region while maintaining health and safety and helping our students progress toward their academic goals.”
Beginning May 18, Louisiana Tech will begin returning select employees to campus. Louisiana Tech will conduct its first-half and full Summer 2020 session classes online. The University plans to conduct the second half of summer classes with face-to-face instruction. This plan may change, however, depending on how quickly the state enters later phases of the re-opening plan.
“Those who will be returning to campus will be notified by their direct supervisor,” said Adam McGuirt, Director of Disaster Recovery and Strategic Initiatives. “Teleworking will remain mandatory for non-essential personnel except as otherwise directed by supervisors.”
Employees who are considered high-risk or vulnerable to COVID-19 will still be given the opportunity to work from home where possible. While on campus, each employee will be expected to wear a cloth face covering when in public spaces or around others.
“Employees will not have to wear a face covering in a private office, but when they are within six feet of others the covering is strongly encouraged,” McGuirt said.
Phase one will continue through June 5, according to today’s announcement.
“We look forward to sharing the next phases of our own plan for returning to campus as we adapt to the requirements our governor has set forth,” Guice said. “I am so appreciative of the patience and perseverance of our Tech Family this spring, and I speak for everyone when I say we are ready to have our students back on campus – they are the reason we exist.”
Louisiana Tech also issued a series of reminders for faculty and staff as operations move through the re-opening phases:
- Employees must not come to work if they have symptoms of COVID-19, and they must have medical clearance to return to work after being symptomatic. Those common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and a new loss of the senses of taste or smell.
- All individuals on campus must strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines, including remaining six feet away from others.
- Individuals should continue to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, and they should not touch their faces.
- Employees should engage in increased cleaning efforts, including regularly cleaning keyboards, telephones, and other surfaces.
- Groups are restricted to fewer than 10 people.
- All meetings will be conducted via Zoom or teleconference.
“The University’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) department, Residential Life, and our Physical Plant have each worked overtime and efficiently to ensure students, faculty, and staff have a safe place to work, learn, and live,” McGuirt said. “We will continue to monitor CDC guidelines and adhere to all federal, state, and local rules as our state continues to move through the reopening phases.”
Complete plan located at latech.edu/coronavirus/return-to-campus-plan/