LSU ends indoor mask mandate for its Baton Rouge campus

November 16, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State University announced Tuesday that it’s immediately scrapping its indoor mask mandate and other coronavirus restrictions for on-campus events, as the state sees the lowest COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases since the earliest days of the pandemic.

“We are moving forward with confidence, but with caution. While we are encouraged by the low number of cases we have seen this fall, and the overall success of our COVID policies and protocols, the pandemic is still a fluid situation. We will continue to carefully monitor trends,” LSU President William Tate said in a message to students, faculty and staff on lifting the restrictions.

Tate said the decision to end the mask requirement and other COVID-19 rules for on-campus events at the Baton Rouge university was made in consultation with the university’s health advisory committee, which includes doctors, infectious disease experts and others.


The school will continue its current quarantine protocols for exposure to COVID-19, its wastewater testing for traces of an outbreak and its regular required testing for unvaccinated people on campus, Tate said.

More than 84% of LSU students and nearly 79% of its employees are vaccinated against the coronavirus illness — well above the statewide vaccination rate, according to university data. Vaccines and booster shots are available on campus.

Louisiana’s health department reported Tuesday that 209 people in the state were hospitalized with COVID-19, the lowest number since March 2020 and well below the state’s peak of more than 3,000 in August. The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive for COVID-19 has fallen below 2% statewide and has declined to 1% in the Baton Rouge region.

Gov. John Bel Edwards ended Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate except at certain K-12 schools last month because of the steep decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. But LSU had kept its rules in place longer as it monitored the state’s emergence from its fourth surge of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the progress, the state continues to struggle to persuade people to get the coronavirus vaccine and remains among states with the lowest immunization rates. About 48% of Louisiana’s total residents are fully vaccinated, according to state health department data.


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