Campus COVID-19 Update

July 28, 2021

As you may be aware through recent media reports, the number of COVID-19 cases in our state and region has increased dramatically over the last few weeks, primarily as a result of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus. 

As a result, Governor Edwards, based on expertise of public health officials, is recommending that all individuals, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear face masks/coverings when indoors and not able to adequately distance. 

Yesterday, the CDC issued guidance urging vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission, and southeast Louisiana is clearly an area of high transmission.  Based on national and state data, as well as information from local healthcare providers, the preponderance of cases, especially those resulting in severe illness and hospitalization, are occurring among unvaccinated individuals.  According to the CDC, new data suggest the small proportion of vaccinated individuals who contract break-through infections, even though their symptoms likely will be mild, can also spread the virus.  

Based on this guidance, effective immediately, Southeastern will modify our Face Masks/Coverings Policy to require face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.  Like many of you, I am highly disappointed to have to resume these restrictions, but as has been the case throughout the pandemic, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our people.

Regrettably, until more members of our campus, local community, and state act on their collective responsibilities to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by being vaccinated, the virus will continue to easily spread, and we will likely have to abide by these and perhaps even more restrictive measures.  Accordingly, I cannot more strongly encourage those who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

One of the most disappointing and frustrating things about the COVID-19 pandemic has been the extraordinary amount of incorrect and misleading information being spread about the virus and related vaccines, especially via social media.  As clearly indicated by the official recommendations disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. have proven overwhelmingly to be safe and effective.  Additional information about the vaccines can be found here.

I encourage those who are not vaccinated and who choose to reject the vaccination recommendations of these public health organizations to seek and follow the advice of their own trusted personal healthcare provider.

John L. Crain