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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.

Important Information for Spring 2022

List of 15 items.

  • Classroom Experience

    The Spring '22 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.  
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

    We hope to continue the weekly opportunity for students and employees to be tested on campus, based on test availability.  Please contact LSMSA Health Services if you have questions about testing options on campus.

    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. 
  • If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolate)

    Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:  
    • Stay home for 5 days.  Students may not remain on campus and must go home on the day of the positive test.
    • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house and return to campus. 
      • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.  
    • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.  
      • If there is not a quarantine room available in the LLC, then students should remain at home for a full 10 days. 
  • If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)

    Students who have completed the primary series of an mRNA vaccine:  
    • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.  
    • Test on day 5. 
    Students who are unvaccinated:  
    • Students may not remain on campus and must go home for 5 days.  
    • After that, continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.  
      • If there is not a quarantine room available in the LLC, then students should remain at home for a full 10 days. 
    • Test on day 5. 

    Staff who have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months
    have completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months
    have been boosted:  
    • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.  
    • Test on day 5. 

    Staff who are unvaccinated
    have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not  boosted
    completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted  
    • Stay home for 5 days.
    • After that continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional  days.  
    • If school cannot ensure masking for 5 additional days, then contact should quarantine for a full 10 days.  
    • Test on day 5.
  • 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. Depending on vaccination status, 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.
    • 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 and their parents will be 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. 
    • 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.
  • 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.
    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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