COVID-19 Guidelines on LSUHSC-NO Campuses
Guidelines Reviewed on June 27, 2023
On May 11, 2023, the federal COVID-19 public health emergency ended. LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (“LSUHSC-NO”) in conjunction with the CDC is shifting from an emergency response to incorporating COVID-19 activities into sustainable public health practice.
LSUHSC-NO follows CDC COVID-19 guidance, as it is our continued responsibility as a health institution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our community. LSUHSC-NO strongly recommends all employees and students to get vaccinated (including the bivalent booster when eligible). Appropriate self-isolation immediately after developing symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test is important to our campus safety. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and get tested for COVID even if vaccinated. Vaccination lowers, but does not eliminate, the risk of transmission. Updated guidance on COVID-19 management is outlined below.
- LSUHSC-NO no longer requires masks on campus, masks are optional in all areas.
- Please be sensitive to others around you during meetings or gatherings. Ask if anyone would prefer masking and if so, please accommodate.
Face masks remain required for pre-pandemic standards of masking in places like the OR, procedural areas, dental clinics, etc. for safety and infection prevention protocols.
- In clinical settings, the expectation is that if anyone in the room requests mask wearing (patients or clinical staff/provider), they will comply.
- Mask characteristics: When masking is required, personnel should wear AT LEAST a well-fitting surgical grade mask (covering nose and mouth). Cloth masks and neck “gaiters” are not acceptable. KN95 or N95 masks will be preferred in certain clinical and academic settings.
- LSUHSC-NO strongly recommends that all employees and students be optimally vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC recommends that people ages 5 years and older receive on updated (bivalent) booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose, whether that was:
- Their final primary series dose, or
- An original monovalent booster
- Individuals who have received boosters are best protected against getting symptomatic COVID-19.
Student Vaccination Submission:
- All incoming students must submit their COVID-19 vaccinations to Student Health via the new student immunization packet.
- Current students can submit documentation of COVID-19 vaccinations directly to Student Health via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To be considered in compliance with LSUHSC-NO policies, all students must have documentation of a primary vaccination series or an approved exemption on file.
- Requests for exemption can be submitted via the LSUHSC COVID-19 site (https://911.lsuhsc.edu/coronavirus/)
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated may be required to undergo periodic surveillance testing, if a clinical situation would ever warrant such testing.
- 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.
Guidance for On-Campus Activities
- There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions on campus but any individual with potential symptoms consistent with COVID -19, should not come to campus and should be tested.
Visiting students attending LSUHSC-NO for rotation/research experience
- Pre-matriculation students and other non-clinical visitors are encouraged to be vaccinated, but vaccination is not required.
- Visiting students for clinical or research rotations must fully adhere to all vaccination policies in the facilities in which they are working. Our hospital partners require proof of vaccination status or providing that to LSUHSC.
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.
- 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.
- There are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions. Vaccination is not required for domestic travel for academic meetings and other non-clinical activity. As per LSUHSC policy, vaccination is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED for all LSUHSC employees and students.
- Clinical activities based at off-campus sites:
- 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.
- Student volunteering activities:
- There are currently no COVID-19 student volunteering restrictions but the following conditions must be met:
- Students must be in compliance with LSUHSC-NO COVID-19 vaccination policies
- Mask wearing is always required if requested by site
- Direct supervision of any clinical activities is provided (on site)
- The student is responsible to insure adherence to all policies and procedures of the sponsoring institution(s).
- Enforcement of these policies is the responsibility of the participating Schools through the faculty mentors.
- There are currently no COVID-19 student volunteering restrictions but the following conditions must be met:
Management of Employees/Students with Exposure to COVID-19
- General Principles
- All individuals who have had moderate-to-high-risk exposure to known or suspected COVID-19 patients should take immediate precautions.
- LSUHSC endorses the CDC’s guidelines that an individual wear a mask for 10 days as soon as you find out you were exposed. Day 1 is the first full day after exposure. You are still allowed to come to campus. There is no need to quarantine unless you are symptomatic. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/if-you-were-exposed.html
- Monitor for any symptoms of illness and get tested at least 5 full days after your last exposure (day 6).
- If you test negative, mask wearing is recommended through day 10. Repeat testing not required.
- If you develop symptoms at any time, isolate immediately and test.
Management of Employees/Students Who are Symptomatic
- LSUHSC-NO requires that no employee or student come to campus when experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
- Possible symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- If you are sick, test immediately with a rapid antigen test.
- A positive antigen test result is reliable. After a positive test, follow campus guidance as outlined below (“Management of Employees/Students Who Test Positive for COVID-19”).
- If your antigen test is negative, repeat the test in 48 hours.
- If needed, antigen tests are available at the LSU Healthcare Network (LSUHN) clinics. To make an appointment on campus for a rapid test, call 504-412-1995.
- Detailed testing guidance when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can be found on the CDC page here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html
Management of Employees/Students Who Test Positive for COVID-19
- LSUHSC-NO requires all students and employees to isolate themselves from campus after a positive COVID-19 test and to adhere to the following guidance below and as detailed on the CDC website found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/isolation.html
- Individuals are generally the most infectious for several days prior to onset of symptoms through several days after the onset of symptoms.
- After a positive test, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home.
- If you have symptoms, day 0 of isolation is the day of symptom onset.
- If you have no symptoms, day 0 is the day you were tested. If you develop symptoms within 10 days of when you were tested, the clock restarts at day 0 on the day of symptom onset.
- The earliest day you can return to campus is on day 6 and a mask is required through day 10. You must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
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 LSU 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 Positive Students in the Dorm
If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and is 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.
The Role of Supervisors in Control of COVID-19 on Campus
Prevention is the campus’ best defense against COVID. Supervisors also play an important role in reducing spread if an employee is sick or tests positive.
- If an employee has any COVID-19 symptoms, ensure that they leave campus immediately, quarantine at home, and follow the recommendations above.
- If further guidance is needed about how to manage an ill employee is needed, call Campus Health (504-412-1995)
- 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 wear a mask, and they should follow the recommendations above.
- 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 COVID guidelines will evolve as state and national recommendations change.