COVID protocol will remain intact for LSU spring semester

Staff Report

Reduced class sizes and hybrid learning will remain in place when students return to LSU for the spring semester.

Dr. Tom Galligan, acting LSU President

The announcement from Dr. Tom Galligan, acting LSU President, came last week during a Zoom meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

The protocol will remain the same as what the university put into place for the fall semester as a safeguard against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Academically, we would love to return to 100 percent again, but it’s not safe to do so,” Galligan said.

Half of the classes will be in person or hybrid.

The spring protocol will put 71 percent of the classes online. The remaining classes will include in-person learning or a mixture of both.

Galligan deemed the fall semester as successful as it could have been amid the dire circumstances.

“The main reason the plans worked was because the campus committees took the situation very seriously,” he said. “We can’t control human behavior, but most people have done fantastic as far as doing the right thing.”

Handwashing, sanitizing, social distancing and masks will all be part of the student and instructor protocol.

LSU will also continue to officer COVID testing for students, faculty, employees and administration, and will encourage testing on a monthly basis, Galligan said.

The administration, faculty and students have grown as tired of the protocol, but a vaccination may be the only way to move past the pandemic.

Until then, the same protocol will stay in place, Galligan said.

“The current spike shows that the pandemic is far from over and we can’t let our guards down,” he said. “I’ll admit … I’m tired of the pandemic and you’re tired of it, but the pandemic is not tired of us.”

The pandemic itself has been a learning process, Galligan said.

“If 2020 has proven anything, it’s proven we must confront challenges to overcome and work toward a better future,” he said. “Ideally, there were be no pandemic and no COVID, but we’re all doing our best in a really challenging situation.

“We’re walking a tightrope of either being safe or not safe,” Galligan said. “Because of uncertainties, we’ve leaned toward the more conservative and safe side.”