Prevention and Management of COVID-19 on the LSUHSC Campuses

Guidelines Updated on January 10, 2022

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. LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (“LSUHSC-NO”) strongly recommends all employees and students to get vaccinated (including a third dose or “booster” when eligible).  Appropriate self-isolation immediately after developing symptoms or having a positive test for COVID-19 is important to our campus safety.  Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and get tested for COVID even if vaccinated.  Wearing masks and good hand hygiene remain required of ALL students, employees, visitors, and contract workers on campus. Physical distancing is highly encouraged whenever possible ESPECIALLY when masking is not possible  Vaccination lowers but does not eliminate the risk of transmission. Therefore, we 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).  Starting January 3, 2022, LSU Health Sciences Center is requiring universal use of KN95 or N95 masks while indoors on campus. The only exceptions are during eating and drinking in designated areas and in a private office with no other persons entering during the day.
     
  • Physical Distancing:  Whenever possible, one should maintain appropriate physical distancing (a minimum of six (6) feet) between you and the person with whom you are talking, eating, or sitting.  This is particularly important while eating and masks are off as well as in smaller enclosed areas (i.e., a break room). The possibility of COVID-19 transmission is highest when people are close together and unmasked.
     
  • Vaccination:  LSUHSC-NO strongly recommends that all employees and students be vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees who received an mRNA vaccine and are at least 5 months away from their second vaccination are also strongly recommended to receive a third vaccination (“booster” for the purposes of this document).   Pregnant and breastfeeding women may consult campus health and the following CDC site for information. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html)
     
    • LSU faculty, students and staff must submit their vaccination (including third dose) information into the LSUHSC COVID-19 documentation site found at https://911.lsuhsc.edu/coronavirus/. Requests for exemptions are also entered at that site. In order to participate in on campus activities as a student or an employee, your vaccination status MUST be entered into our online portal.
       
      • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo periodic surveillance testing in the Campus Health Clinic. 
         
      • The only absolute contraindication is having a known severe allergic reaction to the components of the vaccine. The State of Louisiana also allows religious exemptions.
         
  • 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. Boosted individuals have received a third dose of mRNA vaccine 5+ months after receiving the second vaccine dose.
     
  • Quarantine after exposures and self-isolation if sick or COVID-19 positive are important measures as well. See details in Section below (link to Management section below) 

 

Guidance for On-Campus Activities

  • General Principles for group activity on Campus:  We are continually monitoring community spread and the local, regional and national recommendations regarding restrictions in group activity.
     
    • Most recent local and state guidelines may be found at:
    • LSU Participants in ANY on-campus activities must have entered their COVID-19 vaccination status in the LSUHSC COVID-19 vaccine portal found on the LSUHSC COVID-19 page:https://911.lsuhsc.edu/coronavirus/
      • 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.
           
    • Room use guidelines
      • 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.
         
    • Masking is required unless eating.
       
  • Academic/Curricular gatherings
    • Large in-person academic/curricular gatherings (>25 people) such as lectures and conferences
      • As much as possible, these events should be scheduled in rooms that can accommodate physical distancing. 
      • Masking is required during all academic gatherings
         
    • Small group academic/curricular gatherings such as skills labs and team-based learning exercises
      • In these settings, physical distancing may not be possible because of the nature of the activities. Room density guidelines and physical distancing should also be followed to the extent possible.
      • Proper masking is essential for all participants and must be strictly enforced.
         
  • Courses using the Center for Advanced Practice
    • All outside participants in training activities must provide proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination with a WHO approved vaccine. All international travelers must comply with the entry requirements as dictated by the Department of Homeland Security.
       
    • Participants must wear masks at all times during the educational component.
       
    • Courses should be designed to maximize the adherence of physical distancing guidance while in classroom sessions.  Masks must be worn in the demonstration lab. 
       
    • A maximum of 50 people may be in the lab.
       
    • If food is provided, the setting must conform to physical distancing and room occupancy principles.
       
  • Non-academic/non-curricular meetings: During the omicron surge, non-academic/non-curricular meetings will NOT be permitted.
     
  • Campus Wellness Center. The Wellness Center may operate as long as individuals are vaccinated and properly masked. Equipment should be spaced to maintain physical distancing requirements. Equipment and other high-touch surfaces should be cleaned at least every 24 hours using approved cleaning agents. For CDC guidance see:
    • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
       
  • 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

Guidance for Off-Campus Activities that are sponsored or organized by LSUHSC-NO faculty/staff/students involving other LSUHSC-NO personnel

  • LSU sponsored off-campus activities such as fundraising events and social gatherings
    • Schools and departments may use LSU Health Foundation funds for off campus fundraising events or social gatherings.  LSUHSC-NO expects organizers to ensure that all local guidelines for COVID-19 prevention are followed. State general funds will not be used for off-campus social gatherings.
    • Student organizations may also sponsor off-campus events as long as these gatherings adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines. Organizers are expected to ensure adherence.
       
  • Travel: Domestic travel for academic meetings and other non-clinical activity will only be considered  for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 . Travel to deliver patient care at remote sites (e.g. scheduled clinics at correctional institutes or remote hospitals) will continue to be approved and reimbursed as it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • International Travel
    • Domestic travel
      • Work-related travel for meetings on LSUHSC-NO or foundation funds may be approved for fully vaccinated employees and students. Supervisors are responsible for verifying that the traveler is fully vaccinated before submitting a prior approval form.  However, supervisors should NOT document the traveler’s vaccination status anywhere on the required approval forms. 
         
    • Personal travel
      • LSUHSC-NO, following CDC recommendations, discourages travel at this time for unvaccinated individuals. Fully vaccinated individuals may travel safely if CDC guidance is followed.
         
      • See current CDC travel recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html
         
      • Never travel if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. 
         
      • For fully vaccinated travelers:
        • Follow masking and physical distancing practices while using public transportation. In addition, travelers should follow all state and local guidance.
        • When traveling to areas of substantial COVID-19 transmission, vaccinated individuals should practice masking and physical distancing during high-risk activities. These would include large indoor gatherings and crowded outdoor settings especially with unvaccinated individuals.
        • Upon return from travel, individuals 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.
           
      • For unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated travelers:
        • Get viral test 1-3 days PRIOR to travel.
        • While traveling, observe strict masking and physical distancing measures during transit and in group settings of any type.
        • Upon return from travel, individuals must get a COVID-19  PCR testing on days 3-5. They may continue to be on campus if testing is negative. If positive, they should follow with protocol for COVID-19 positive individuals.
        • Individuals 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
    • LSUHSC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for all employees. All clinical personnel must also follow affiliated health system policies and procedures regarding COVID-19 vaccination including any vaccination mandates.
       
    • Clinical personnel must follow all hospital or clinic policies pertaining to COVID-19.  This includes policies regarding vaccination, testing and isolation after exposure.  (Non-clinical personnel who are based at a hospital or clinic must also adhere to the vaccination policies of that partnering clinical institution.)
       
    • 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 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.
         
  • 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
     
  • All volunteering activities are currently on hold. We are actively monitoring when these activities may resume
     
  • When volunteering activities do resume,  we will continue the following guidelines.
    • Community facing student volunteer activities at existing and already approved locations may resume if all of the following conditions are met:
      • All participating students must be fully vaccinated.
      • Mask wearing is always required.
      • Physical distancing is maintained as much as possible.
      • Direct supervision of any clinical activities is provided (on site).
      • PPE is available.
      • There is a written and approved Covid mitigation plan.
    • Students participating in optional clinical experiences (including shadowing and outpatient clinics) must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to participation.
    • We will reassess the advisability of approving public-facing volunteer activities as we continually monitor COVID case rates in our communities.
    • Any alteration of existing or any new volunteer activities must include documentation of prospective COVID-19 mitigation efforts taking place at the offsite location AND must have prior approval of the Dean of the involved school.

 

Disinfection of the Workplace:  If an employee or student tests positive, is considered infectious, and has been on campus within the past two (2) days, Deans, Department Heads, or Directors should contact Mr. John Ball, Associate Vice Chancellor for Property and Facilities (jball@lsuhsc.edu).

 

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

  • General Principles
    • 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 may be a major factor in continued spread in the population.  Moderate-to-high-risk exposure is defined as close contact (within six feet) with the source individual for a total of >15 minutes over a 24-hour period regardless of mask use. Therefore everyone with such an exposure should be tested as soon as possible and contact the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995)
    • 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.
    • The first day of exposure or COVID-19 diagnosis is considered DAY 0.
       

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 testing or 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 5 days after symptom onset and until there has been near resolution in other symptoms and until you have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
    • Individuals must use KN95 or N95 masks upon return to campus until 10 days after symptom onset. Eating and drinking should be done away from others for total 10 days after diagnosis.
    • 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 at this time. Antigen testing at the end of infection might be helpful but not required. Antigen and PCR tests can 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 testing or 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 5 days since symptom onset, absence fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines, and improvement of other symptoms
      • Individuals must use KN95 or N95 masks upon return to campus until 10 days after symptom onset. Eating and drinking should be done away from others for total 10 days after diagnosis.
  • 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 and boosted.
  • 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 90 days, the test is most likely a persistent positive test related to your previous infection and you may not be required to self-isolation.
  • 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 5 days after the positive test, provided the student/employee remains asymptomatic.
    • Individuals must use KN95 or N95 masks upon return to campus until 10 days after symptom onset unless immunocompromised. Immunocompromised individuals must use KN95 or N95 masks for 20 days after diagnosis.
    • Eating and drinking should be done away from others for total 10 days (or 20 days if immunocompromised) after diagnosis.

 

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

  • We recommend that everyone (whether unvaccinated, vaccinated, or boosted) who has had a moderate to high-risk exposure get tested immediately in order to determine if you are already infected.  If this initial test is positive, then follow the guidelines for a positive COVID-19 PCR test above. If this initial test is negative, then management depends on your vaccination status.
  • COVID-19 vaccine boosted individuals who test negative at the time of exposure may continue working with ongoing monitoring for symptoms and strict adherence to our mask and social distancing policies. Repeat testing is REQUIRED at 5-7 days after exposure. Individuals must use KN95 or N95 masks while on campus until 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who are not boosted (vaccinated or not) and who test negative at the time of exposure must quarantine from campus for 7 days and monitor for the development of symptoms. Repeat testing is REQUIRED at 5-7 days after exposure.
  • Essential clinical personnel should follow their hospital or clinic guidelines.
  • Note that there are additional requirements if you are living with and caring for someone who has tested positive.
    • COVID-19 vaccine boosted individuals who are living with and caring for someone who has tested positive must get tested as soon as possible and at Days 5 and 10 after exposure. The individual should closely monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop. While on campus, they MUST use KN95 or N95 masks upon return to campus until 10 days after the initial positive patient has recovered (up to 20 days). Eating and drinking should be done away from others during this time.
    • Individuals who are not COVID-19 vaccine boosted, and who are caring for a COVID positive person in the home must continue to quarantine from campus for 17 days after the source patient tested positive, while monitoring for symptoms. The individual must be tested prior to return to campus. If symptoms develop, they should follow the guidelines for symptomatic individuals above. 
  • Additionally, all 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 testing 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.  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 should ensure that individuals who propose to travel for school business are fully vaccinated before submitting forms for prior approval. Outside personnel who are invited as speakers or participants in a course or conference must provide proof of full vaccination. It is the responsibility of the supervisor overseeing the event to ensure that all outside visitors comply.   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 tested 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.