On Wednesday, March 25, President-Chancellor Ray Belton released a statement addressing the Southern University community detailing that an instructor and a staff member within the Southern University System have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19).
Both individuals are said to be under physician’s care and self-isolating within the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The names of the individuals were not disclosed, and it is unclear at which campus were each employed. All in person classes have ceased since Monday, March 16.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, there have been 1,795 positive cases to date in 48 parishes, including Caddo, East Baton Rouge, and Orleans parishes where most Southern University facilities are located.
Governor John Bel Edwards recently revealed that Louisiana has the fastest growth rate of confirmed cases in the world, citing a study conducted at UL-Lafayette, and proceeded to issue a stay-at-home order in hopes of flattening the trend. Under the order, it is still possible for residents to go outside and pick up groceries, medicine, or take-out meals, but prohibits public gatherings, visitation, and going to work unless essential services are provided.
Southern University and A & M College has done its part to keep the campus community informed and relieved. Several memos have been sent providing guidance to faculty, staff, and students during the school’s transition into remote learning, which is scheduled to begin Monday, March 30.
Other changes to the Spring 2020 academic calendar include April 13 being the last day for students to withdraw from courses or the University. Classes are scheduled to end May 4, with Spring Commencement exercises being postponed until August 7.
Dining services and housing are still being provided to students who were unable to secure arrangements to leave campus, with a call center being established to address any questions. The John B. Cade Library is also scheduled to reopen Monday, March 30.
The Division of Student Affairs, SU Alumni Federation, and the SU Foundation created an emergency fund to help provide nominal assistance for students trying to travel home. The University is also planning a prorated reimbursement process for students who were able to check out of their residential halls before March 20. Students who were Federal College work-study recipients will still receive their remaining allocations.
To help prevent the spread of the virus, the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourages people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, use an alcohol based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when available, cover sneezes and coughs with your elbow or tissue, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, actively practice social distancing, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly.
The Housing Support Line can be reached at 225-771-4083. If any student on campus is feeling ill or knows someone else who is, they are strongly encouraged to contact the SU Health Center immediately at 225-771-4770. For more campus notices and updates, visit sus.edu/coronovirus.