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The University of Louisiana Lafayette released travel restrictions for students, faculty and staff on Monday afternoon, prohibiting travel to areas the Center for Disease Control has labeled as high risk areas for COVID-19.
The university also updated students by email about their handling of the coronavirus as well as tips to stay safe from the virus, the flu and other respiratory diseases.
More information regarding the university’s response and additional information about COVID-19 was posted on UL Lafayette’s website.
As of Monday, health officials said publicly that there is one presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Louisiana. The state is waiting on the CDC to confirm the positive result.
The information below may be outdated.
While coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak spreads throughout the United States, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette released to its faculty Wednesday that they will be following the state’s guidelines for handling the virus on campus.
Despite the release Wednesday afternoon, UL Lafayette officials still have not released a plan specific to the university to either students or faculty, though other Lafayette offices, including the Lafayette Parish School Board, have released their plans to deal with a potential outbreak in the area.
The guidelines that UL Lafayette released to faculty as per the state discourages students, faculty and staff from traveling outside of the country and states that students who have traveled outside of the country to high risk areas should be quarantined.
The guidelines also require “member institutions to post information including institutional processes for compliance with these guidelines on university websites and post social media updates when warranted.”
Eric Maron, senior communications representative for the university’s communication department and public information officer for the coronavirus on campus, said that UL Lafayette is currently assessing its own tools on campus and is following an existing airborne communicable disease preparedness plan created by the university. He said this plan is a way for the university to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.
“We are not going to wait until it happens,” Maron said. “We are going to begin our planning to be able to make decisions quickly.”
Joseph Pons of UL Lafayette’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety said he was not authorized to provide details, but said, “we are addressing this as an emergency.”
“Right now, the main thing we are trying to do is get information out to put people’s minds at ease,” Maron said.
A fact sheet on the coronavirus was also posted Wednesday on the university’s website on the office of environmental health and safety’s page.
Maron said UL Lafayette will be updating students within the coming weeks on the steps they can take to prevent the coronavirus and the flu but stressed that as of now there are no cases of COVID-19 in the state. He also said that the flu is currently hitting the area harder.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced publicly March 2 that the coronavirus’ spread to Louisiana is not an “if” but a “when.”
The Lafayette Parish School Board system released a statement Wednesday about their advice and preparations for students regarding COVID-19, according to the Acadiana Advocate.
Louisiana State University has also released information saying that they have quarantined a student that was studying abroad and China, and that they are canceling this semester’s planned trip to China, according to the Business Report.
Right now, Maron said students are encouraged to prevent the virus like they would prevent the flu, by washing hands and not sharing drinks. He also discouraged the use of masks.
“Masks will not have an impact. The best thing to do is to leave the masks alone” Maron said.
Maron said if students have any additional questions to check out the Center for Disease Control’s website.
Follow this article for updates and developments.