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Living and Learning during COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to present disruptions, we continue to monitor state and federal health guidelines, currently available scientific information, the institution’s priorities and capabilities, and stakeholder opinions and interests.

While we recognize that cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the United States and in Louisiana, it is also the case that vaccines are widely available and effective in preventing most instances of severe illness or hospitalization related to COVID-19.  

We stress, however, that if the State were to revert back to the phase system with governmental restrictions, we will transition back to a virtual learning experience.

Guiding Principles

The safety of our community is, at all times, our primary concern. A focus on the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff drives all planning and decision-making.

A safe return will require our diligent cooperation. We must all commit to making adjustments and taking precautions to assure that we are protecting ourselves and those around us.

What to Expect

List of 1 items.

  • Classroom Experience

    The Fall ’21, in person classroom experience is outlined below.

    • Classroom seating will be arranged to promote physical distancing and seats will be assigned in a manner to assure as much distancing as is possible, given classroom sizes and class enrollment.
    • Students and faculty will be required to wear masks in the classroom.  Face shields will be provided for faculty.
    • Faculty will sanitize high touch areas between classes, upon arriving and before exiting the space. 
    • LSMSA will attempt to adjust the daily schedule to allow more time in-between classes in order to allow for sanitizing of high-touch areas between classes.
    • Should a faculty member need to transition to online instruction during the semester due to quarantine issues or illness the department chair, in consultation with the Director of Academic Services, will determine the most appropriate coverage options in order to present the students with the least disruption as possible in course delivery.
    • Should a student need to quarantine, due to illness or risk assessments, the instructor of record, the department chair, the Director of Academic Services, and LSMSA's medical/wellness team will connect with the student and family to assess possible accommodations.

Important Information for Fall 2021

List of 12 items.

  • Mask Expectations

    Community members and guests to campus will be expected to wear masks indoors at all times except when in their own residence hall suites, when eating/showering/brushing teeth, or when engaged in rigorous physical exercise. For P.E. classes and athletics, LHSAA guidelines will be followed. 

    Students should bring at least five washable, reusable face masks. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth. Bandannas and neck gaiters are not acceptable.  Please refer to CDC guidance regarding face coverings.

    Physical conditions that preclude an individual from wearing a face mask should be discussed with the School Nurse prior to coming to campus.
  • Daily Temperature Checks

    Temperatures will be screened daily as students leave the residence hall and as employees arrive at work.

    Temperature scanners have been installed at the Living Learning Commons, the High School Building, the CPT, the MAB, and the Gym/SAC.
  • Daily Symptom Tracking

    Before leaving their residence hall room, students should check themselves for symptoms using the Reach Boarding system screening tool.
    Students who are experiencing symptoms should remain in their rooms and contact the front desk of the LLC by phone. The front desk  staff member will notify the School Nurse, who will then provide further assessment and instructions.

    School employees should complete the symptom screening tool daily, and any employee who is experiencing symptoms should contact their supervisor. 
  • Social Distancing

    The definition of social distancing regarding COVID-19 is a minimum distance of six feet in all directions.
    • All community members are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing whenever possible.
    • Community members should avoid gathering in large groups or crowded spaces.
  • COVID Testing and Contact Tracing

    As the body of knowledge about the Delta variant and other potential strains of the COVID-19 virus increases, CDC guidance may change rapidly.  Please visit the CDC website for the most up to date guidance regarding COVID-19 testing, quarantine requirements, mask recommendations, and vaccines.

    Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms or knowledge of exposure should not report to work or classes without receiving further clearance. 
    • Any employee who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should notify their supervisor immediately. 
    • Any student who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should notify the School Nurse immediately. 

    Identifying Persons with Possible COVID-19 Infection
    Based on the LDH Guidelines, individuals should be tested for COVID-19 if they exhibit at least one of the following major COVID-19 symptoms: dry cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new changes in sense of smell or taste
    At least two of the following minor COVID-19 symptoms: fever, chills, rigors, muscle ache/myalgia, headache, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, congestion/runny nose or fatigue AND no alternative more likely diagnosis.
    For students who are exhibiting symptoms of illness that do not meet the above criteria, the School Nurse will conduct a full physical assessment and provide treatment or contact the parent/guardian if she feels the student needs to be seen at the local clinic or by a physician.

    If the student’s symptoms do not meet the above criteria but do include any one minor COVID-19 symptom, the student will be monitored for 24 hours and will, at the School Nurse’s discretion, be excused from classes. 

    LSMSA does not have the ability to isolate/quarantine students on campus for prolonged periods. As is the case when students test positive for the flu, strep throat, or other highly contagious conditions, students who must quarantine for more than 3 days (either due to a positive COVID-19 test or due to exposure to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19) will be required to return home for the duration of the quarantine period. 

    Suspected COVID-19 Cases
    If an LSMSA student shows symptoms of COVID-19, LSMSA will follow current CDC Isolation/Quarantine Recommendations and CDC Recommendations for COVID-19 Contact Tracing in Schools. This may mean that the student will need to return home for a quarantine unless the student receives a negative COVID-19 test or an alternate diagnosis from a physician.
    • Fully vaccinated persons with suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19 should test 3-5 days after exposure.  A mask must be worn for 14 days or until the vaccinated individual receives a negative COVID-19 test result. (7.27.21)
    • In practice on LSMSA’s campus:
      • Students who show symptoms of COVID-19 will be isolated and parents contacted as soon as staff are aware of the symptoms.
      • Contact tracing will be performed utilizing contact tracing features that are available in the REACH Boarding System and the myLSMSA system and through student interviews. Close contacts will be isolated and their parents notified.
      • The School Nurse will facilitate COVID-19 testing in Natchitoches for the symptomatic student, in order to minimize any unnecessary extended quarantines for the student and his/her close contacts, should the symptomatic student be negative for COVID-19. Payment for COVID-19 testing will be the responsibility of the parent.
    • If a symptomatic student is tested and receives a negative test result, all close contacts will be able to resume normal activities. The symptomatic student may remain in an on-campus sick room until they are able to return to normal activities or return home if their medical condition warrants a longer recovery period.
    • If a student does test positive for COVID-19, the symptomatic student will be required to promptly return home to isolate in accordance with CDC guidance.
    • LSMSA will follow current CDC guidance regarding quarantine/masking/testing recommendations for vaccinated and non-vaccinated close contacts.
    Symptomatic or exposed employees will follow the same protocols regarding testing and quarantine. 

    To reduce the chances of COVID-19 exposure and an off-campus quarantine, students are strongly encouraged to "keep their bubble small" throughout the Fall semester. 
  • Sign-Out & Daily Check-Ins (Speedbump)

    • We will continue to use the REACH app to allow for low-contact sign out and speedbump.  Parental permission si required if traveling in a vehicle.
    • Students are encouraged to select restaurants that offer outdoor dining or takeout/delivery services.
    • It is recommended that students wear masks when off campus to protect others, themselves, and the LSMSA community. 
    • Building Hours & Curfew

      The residence hall will open at 7:00 am daily. On-campus curfew will be 8:00 pm daily. In-building curfew will be 9:00 pm on weeknights and 11:00 pm on weekends.

      Room check will be held at 9:00 pm on weeknights and at 11:00 pm on weekends.
    • Dining

      • Tables have been reconfigured to promote social distancing and Plexiglas dividers allow for limited socialization while eating.
      • Outdoor dining areas and take-out options are available.
      • Self-service areas are limited and have been replaced with prepackaged options, where possible.
      • Students are expected to clean their area after they finish eating. Cleaning supplies will be provided.
      • Additional changes may be implemented by the food services provider.
    • Transportation

      • The driver and passengers must wear masks at all times.
      • Hand sanitizer will be provided in all school vehicles.
      • High-touch surfaces will be disinfected after each trip.
    • Social Programming

      • Residential Life staff will continue to offer regular programming on evenings and weekends.  We will continue to keep student wellness in  mind when planning events.
    • Housing

      • Students should not host other students in their suites/rooms. Rather, students who do not already share a living space should visit with one another in larger spaces that allow for more social distancing and better ventilation.
      • LSMSA will arrange common area furniture to promote social distancing. Students are prohibited from rearranging common area furniture.
    • Move-In

      • Move-in will be phased over multiple days to reduce congestion in the halls and promote social distancing. 
      • Students will sign-up for a designated move-in day and time. Before coming to campus to move in, all individuals should check for symptoms of COVID-19 using the provided symptom screening tool. Anyone exhibiting any symptom must not come to campus and should consult their healthcare provider.
      • Students and those assisting with move-in will be required to wear masks throughout the move-in process.
    We all agree on one thing - we are better when we are together.  We ask all LSMSA families to review the Eagle Pledge and work to ensure you are modeling these behaviors.  Together, we can reduce the COVID-19 risk on our campus so that our students can enjoy the living/learning community that makes LSMSA so special.

    Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts

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