Prevention and Management of COVID-19 on the LSUHSC Campuses

Guidelines Updated on July 27, 2021

LSUHSC Campus Guidelines Highlights

Preventive Measures

  • Preventing the spread of infection is everyone’s responsibility.  It is our best defense against COVID-19.  Vaccination is essential to protect ourselves and the greater community and LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (“LSUHSC-NO”) expects all employees and students to get vaccinated.  Appropriate quarantine after exposure or infection with COVID-19 is important to our campus safety.  Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should self-quarantine and get tested for COVID even if vaccinated.  Wearing masks, physical distancing and good hand hygiene remain required of ALL students, employees and contract workers on campus.  Given the appearance of variant strains with increased transmissibility, we will continue to require these preventive measures even after vaccination against COVID-19.  A combination of all preventive measures will ultimately be required to end the pandemic.
     
  • Masks:  LSUHSC-NO requires that masks be worn properly (covering the nose and mouth) in all public settings on campus (unless one is eating or drinking a beverage).  For a guide of acceptable masks, please refer to this CDC document:
  • Physical Distancing:  Appropriate physical distancing is to maintain a minimum of six (6) feet between you and the person with whom you are talking, eating, or sitting.  There is evidence that the virus can travel further than six feet, so even greater distances are safer especially with the new Delta variant.  This is particularly important while eating and masks are off.  Rooms on campus have occupancy limits posted on the doorway.  We urge everyone to maintain at least six feet apart even if the room is not at its occupancy limit.  Classes should be scheduled in rooms that can accommodate physical distancing.  Please adhere to physical distancing in break rooms. COVID-19 transmission is very possible in a break room, particularly if employees and students do not take precautions.
     
  • Vaccination:  LSUHSC-NO expects that all employees and students be vaccinated against COVID-19.  The only absolute contraindication is having a known severe allergic reaction to the components of the vaccine.  LSUHSC-NO also recommends that pregnant women discuss the pros and cons of vaccination with their health care provider.  It is important to note, that everyone must continue to follow other preventive measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, even after being vaccinated.  For the purposes of this document, a fully vaccinated individual is one who is greater than two weeks out from completing the COVID-19 series.  For two-dose vaccines, this would be two weeks after the second dose.
     
  • Quarantine after potential exposure to COVID-19:  All individuals who have had moderate-to-high-risk exposure to known or suspected COVID-19 patients must follow the procedures available here.  People who have had moderate- to-high-risk exposures are a major factor in continued spread in the population.  With the rapid increase of cases due to the Delta variant, even fully vaccinated individuals need to quarantine after an exposure.
     
  • Self-isolation if you test positive or develop symptoms:  LSUHSC-NO requires all students and employees to isolate themselves from campus and report if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have a positive COVID test, regardless of vaccination status.  See procedure available here.  Individuals are generally the most infectious for several days prior to onset of symptoms through several days after the onset of symptoms.
     
  • Group activity on Campus:  We are continually monitoring community spread and the local, regional and national recommendations regarding restrictions in group activity.
    • Most recent guidelines may be found at:
    • In-person classes may resume on campus in academic year 2021-22.  At this time we require masks and physical distancing during in person classes.  Physical distancing is not possible in some laboratory settings.  Strict adherence to masks should be followed in all class situations.  Room density guidelines and physical distancing should also be followed to the extent possible.
    • Non-class meetings should be remote until further notice.  If it is important to have an in person meeting on campus, meeting organizers are responsible for following the room-specific capacity limits as designated outside the meeting rooms, as well as enforcing all mitigation strategies (masking and physical distancing).
    • For now, the Center for Advance Learning and Simulation will remain available for use.  All outside participants in training activities must provide proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination.  Participants must wear masks and adhere to physical distancing while in classroom sessions.  Masks must be worn in the demonstration lab.  A maximum of 30 people may be in the lab.  We will re-evaluate whether it remains advisable to continue having courses with outside participants in the coming weeks.
    • Expectations for all on-campus activities
      • Participants must wear masks and maintain at least six feet of physical distancing.
      • On-campus activities should minimize eating/drinking while in the meeting room.
      • Activities must strictly adhere to room capacity limits as designated outside the meeting room or Learning Center skills labs.
        • Campus restrictions will be revised as disease activity is monitored and recommendations change.
           
  • Off-campus activities that are sponsored or organized by LSUHSC-NO faculty/staff/students involving other LSUHSC-NO personnel:
    • LSUHSC-NO discourages off campus social activities at this time, and until we better understand the duration of the current surge in COVID-19 cases.  Beginning on August 1, 2021 we will not support off campus social gatherings until further notice.
       
  • Cafeteria and other eating venues
    • Masks must be worn when in line to pick up food, during the meal when not eating, and after eating.  High use public areas increase the risk for viral spread on our campus.
    • People should maintain at least six feet of distance while eating.
       
  • Travel:  Travel for academic meetings and other non-clinical activity will not be approved at this time, even among vaccinated individuals.  This change will go into effect on August 1, and we will reassess restrictions on travel when we better understand the duration of the current surge in COVID-19 cases.  Travel to deliver patient care at remote sites (e.g. scheduled clinics at correctional institutes or remote hospitals) will be reimbursed as it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
     
    • International Travel
    • Domestic travel
      • Beginning on August 1, work-related travel for meetings will not be allowed on LSUHSC-NO or foundation funds until further notice.
         
    • Personal travel
      • LSUHSC-NO discourages travel at this time.  Never travel if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.  Upon return from personal travel you must follow this protocol to return to campus:
      • Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated travelers must quarantine for seven (7) days after travel if PCR testing on days 3-5 is negative.  If no test is obtained, travelers must quarantine for ten days.
      • Vaccinated travelers may return to campus but must monitor for symptoms for ten days.  If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate and get tested through campus health. 
         
  • Clinical activities based at off-campus sites
    • All clinical personnel are expected to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • All clinical personnel must follow all hospital or clinic policies pertaining to COVID-19.  This included policies regarding testing and isolation after exposure. 
    • Clinical personnel should be educated on proper use of PPE.  This includes donning and doffing of PPE as well as proper N95 respirator use.
    • Caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients
      • Entry into patient rooms should be minimized as part of a good infection prevention practices.
      • Individuals not involved in direct care of that patient should remain outside of the patient room.
      • Vaccinated students on clinical rotations may volunteer to participate in the direct care of these patients if allowed by the clinical site.
    • Caring for non-COVID-19 patients in the inpatient or outpatient setting (including AHEC rotations)
      • Clinical personnel should always wear appropriate PPE.
      • Eye protection is recommended especially in small examination rooms.
      • Facemasks for patients are encouraged especially in the ambulatory setting.
         
  • Visiting students attending LSUHSC-NO for rotation/research experience
    • Pre-matriculation students will be offered COVID-19 vaccination prior to any on-campus activity.
    • Visiting students must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Visiting students who are fully vaccinated may start rotations upon arrival, and should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for seven days.
       
  • LSUHSC-NO Students returning from away rotations
    • LSUHSC-NO students must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination PRIOR to approval of elective rotations at other schools.  Students must be fully vaccinated prior to the travel for the elective rotation.
    • Returning students who are fully vaccinated may return to campus upon arrival while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms for seven days.
       
  • Volunteering activities
    • Students participating in clinical or public facing volunteer experiences (including shadowing and outpatient clinics) must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to participation.
    • Students volunteering in clinical experiences must wear appropriate PPE at all times.  Eye protection is recommended.
    • Patient care procedures at the volunteer venue must be reviewed to ensure optimal mitigation of exposure risk. This will include minimizing patient density and universal patient masking upon entry.
    • We will reassess the advisability of continuing these public facing volunteer activities as we better understand the current COVID surge. 
       
  • Disinfection of the Workplace:  If an employee or student tests positive, is considered infectious, and has been on campus within the past three (3) days, Deans, Department Heads, or Directors should contact Mr. John Ball, Associate Vice Chancellor for Property and Facilities (jball@lsuhsc.edu).  The Environmental Health and Safety Office will determine the need for disinfection and coordinate disinfection with the Dean or Department Head.  Supervisors will notify others on the floor or in the area that a potential exposure has occurred, and the necessary areas will be closed for cleaning.
    • Signage will be posted to indicate the area is closed.
    • An approved contractor will disinfect by a combination of fogging and/or wiping with a CDC/FDA approved disinfectant.
    • The Dean or Department Head will be notified when the disinfection is complete.
    • Employees can return to work at a minimum of two hours after disinfection (plates and utensils that may have been exposed should be washed before use).

 

Management of Employees/Students with Suspected or Documented COVID-19 or Exposure to COVID-19

What should you do if you have symptoms and a positive COVID-19 PCR test

  • LSUHSC-NO requires that you self-report by calling the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).  Students should also report using the online reporting system (LSUHSC-NO online self-reporting platforms)
  • Do not come to work or school.  Isolation from campus is required even if you are fully vaccinated.
  • LSUHSC-NO also recommends that you self-isolate at home (follow CDC guidance about household prevention).
  • Seek medical care if needed.
  • In addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic, LSUHSC-NO encourages you to notify your supervisor so that we can begin isolating colleagues that you may have exposed and have your workspace cleaned if necessary.  You and your supervisor can also discuss leave policies.
  • The Campus Health Clinic will ask about symptoms and their date of onset, help determine whether you should seek medical care, and decide when you can return to work.
  • The Campus Health Clinic will work with your supervisor to determine if you placed other campus personnel at moderate-to-high risk of infection in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset.  Moderate-risk exposures include conversations at less than six feet of distance for a total of 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period regardless of mask use.
  • Clearance to return to campus will be determined by Campus Health using CDC guidelines:
    • LSUHSC-NO requires you to remain isolated from campus for at least ten days from symptom onset and until there has been considerable improvement in other symptoms and until you have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
    • If you are hospitalized or immunocompromised, an infectious disease expert may determine when you can safely return to campus, or you must remain in isolation for at least 20 days since symptom onset, absence of fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines and improvement of other symptoms.

We do not recommend repeat testing, as the test is likely to remain positive for several weeks after infection.  Your test may remain positive even after you are no longer infectious to others.

What should you do if you are symptomatic but have not had a COVID-19 test

  • LSUHSC-NO requires that you self-report by calling the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
  • Do not come to work or school.  Isolation from campus is required even if you are fully vaccinated.
  • LSUHSC-NO also recommends that you self-isolate at home (follow CDC guidance about household prevention).
  • Seek medical care if needed.
  • Students should also use the online self-isolation reporting form (LSUHSC-NO online self-reporting platform) in addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
  • We encourage students and employees to notify their supervisors about any possible COVID-19 symptoms, to discuss whether or not you have had close contacts that will require quarantine if you test positive.  You and your supervisor can also discuss leave policies.
  • Call the Campus Health Clinic about symptoms and the date of symptom onset.  They will encourage you to get tested, help you determine whether you should seek medical care, and determine when you can return to work.
  • Campus Health will recommend a COVID-19 PCR test to confirm the diagnosis and to determine if there were moderate-to-high-risk exposures to other campus personnel beginning 48 hours prior to symptom onset.  Moderate-to-high-risk exposures include conversations at less than six feet distance for a total of 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period regardless of mask use.
    • If test is negative or was not performed and there is low suspicion for COVID-19 as determined on follow-up with the Campus Health Clinic, then you may return to campus when symptoms resolve.
    • If test is negative or was not performed and there is high suspicion for COVID-19 as determined on follow-up with the Campus Health Clinic, or if test is positive, then return to campus:
      • At least ten days since symptom onset, absence fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines, and improvement of other symptoms
      • If hospitalized or immunocompromised, at least 20 days since symptom onset, absence of fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines and improvement of other symptoms
         

What should you do if you are asymptomatic and have had a positive COVID-19 PCR test

  • LSUHSC-NO requires you to self-report by calling the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).  Students should also report using the online reporting system (LSUHSC-NO online self-reporting platforms)
  • Do not come to work or school.  Isolation from campus is required even if you are fully vaccinated.
  • LSUHSC-NO also recommends that you self-isolate at home (follow CDC guidance about household prevention).
  • In addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic, LSUHSC-NO encourages you to notify your supervisor so that we can begin isolating colleagues that you may have exposed and have your workspace cleaned if necessary.  You and your supervisor can also discuss leave policies.
  • If you had documented COVID-19 within the last six weeks, the test is most likely a persistent positive test related to your previous infection and you may not be required to quarantine.
  • Campus Health will work with your supervisor to determine if there were moderate-to-high-risk exposures to other campus personnel beginning 48 hours prior to the positive test.  Moderate-to-high-risk exposures include conversations at less than six feet distance for 15 minutes or longer over a 24 hour period regardless of mask use.
  • Return to campus clearance will be determined by the Campus Health Clinic in accordance with CDC guidelines:
    • At least ten days after the positive test, provided the student/employee remains asymptomatic.
    • If immunocompromised, at least 20 days after positive test, provided the student/employee remains asymptomatic.
       

What should you do if you have had a moderate-to-high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual

  • We recommend that everyone (vaccinated and unvaccinated) who has had a moderate to high risk exposure get tested immediately in order to determine if you are infected already infected.  Everyone (including vaccinated individuals) needs to quarantine from campus after an exposure.  Essential clinical personnel should follow their hospital or clinic guidelines.
  • Everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) should also be tested 5-7 days after the exposure to ensure that the recent exposure did not cause infection.  This is important even if you remain asymptomatic.
  • If either COVID PCR test is positive, follow management of positive test above.
  • A fully vaccinated employee or student who has a negative test 5-7 days after a moderate-to-high risk exposure may return to class or work if they are asymptomatic.
  • An unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individual must quarantine for 14 days after exposure, regardless of the test result, and return to work or class only if asymptomatic. 
  • Additionally, individuals with a COVID exposure should:
    • Call the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995) to determine when it is safe to return to work. 
    • Students should also use the online self-isolation reporting form (LSUHSC-NO online self-reporting platforms) in addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
    • Notify their supervisor.

 

COVID-19 management in employees who are integral to clinical patient care

In general, clinical employees will follow the guidelines of their current clinical sites (hospital or HealthCare Network Clinic).  Clinical sites may define a moderate-high-risk exposure differently (i.e., close contact without full PPE including eye protection or exposure to an aerosolized procedure without full PPE).  Clinical sites may also not require quarantine after an exposure if your initial test was negative.

Additionally, please note that students are not integral to clinical patient care and must follow campus guidelines regardless of whether or not they are on a clinical rotation.

Management of COVID test positive students in the Dorm

If test-positive students are able to live elsewhere with family members or friends, they should leave the dorm for the time periods specified above.  If they must remain in the dorm, they should strictly adhere to self-isolation in their room and minimize the risk of exposing other students.                                                                                                    

Contact Tracing for LSUHSC-NO Employees

Campus Health will encourage individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to notify their supervisors and identify other students or employees with whom they have had moderate-high-risk* contact in the 48 hours prior to their positive test.  Supervisors should facilitate the isolation and quarantine of any exposed individuals (vaccinated and unvaccinated) as soon as possible, and encourage them to be tested on day one, and then again five days after the exposure.  Isolation of those exposed individuals from campus will improve campus safety.  We encourage employees and students to aid LSUHSC-NO in identifying colleagues who may be at high or moderate-risk* due to their exposure in the workplace.  LSUHSC-NO will not identify source patients in the process of notifying other employees about their potential exposure to COVID-19.  If possible, we should notify and quarantine campus contacts as soon as possible. 

* Moderate-high-risk -- close contact (within six feet) with the source employee/student for a total of >15 minutes over a 24-hour period regardless of mask use.

The Role of Supervisors in Control of COVID-19 on Campus

Prevention is the campus’ best defense against COVID.  Supervisors should encourage vaccination and enforce adherence to preventive measures among their employees.  This includes proper wearing of masks and physical distancing.  Supervisors also play an important role in reducing spread if an employee is sick or tests positive.  Supervisors have the right to request proof of vaccination from the employees or students that they supervise in order to make decisions that promote campus safety.  Vaccination information should not be disclosed to other employees or students.

  • Survey the areas used by your group to evaluate risk of crowding that would violate six foot distancing especially during eating/drinking.
  • Maintain schedules of employees expected to be on campus.
  • Ensure the proper process for sick employees who could have COVID-19:
    • If an employee has any symptoms, ensure that they leave campus immediately, quarantine at home, and follow the recommendations above.
    • Call Campus Health (412-1995) if you have any questions about how to manage an ill employee.
    • If an employee tests positive, supervisor should:
       
      • Ensure that they leave campus immediately, quarantine at home, and follow the recommendations above.
      • Notify your employees that there has been an infected person in the area and remind them to strictly adhere to wearing masks, physical distancing and handwashing.  Do not divulge the name of the positive employee.
      • Attempt to identify other employees who had a moderate-high risk exposure in the 48 hours prior to the positive test (close contact < 6 feet, for more than 15 minutes, over a 24 hour period).  Individuals (vaccinated and unvaccinated) who have had moderate-to-high risk exposure should be quarantined from campus immediately, and they should follow the recommendations above.
      • Secure and isolate their workspace and other areas they have frequented in the 48 hours prior to their positive test.  Contact Mr. John Ball, Associate Vice Chancellor for Property and Facilities (jball@lsuhsc.edu).  The Environmental Health and Safety Office will determine the need for disinfection.
      • Notify other supervisors who share the floor, without divulging the name of the positive employee.  They, in turn, should remind their employees to strictly adhere to wearing masks, physical distancing and handwashing.

 

Please note that these guidelines will evolve as state and national recommendations change.