University officials met in a webinar on Tuesday afternoon, May 26, to discuss the possibilities of having students have on-campus learning for the upcoming fall semester.
Executive vice president and provost Stacia Haynie said the University may cancel fall break and shift to online learning exclusively until the end of the fall 2020 semester.
Haynie commented on the status of the upcoming semester on the webinar, hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, with Interim President Tom Galligan. Both university leaders maintained that they are planning to hold in-person classes in the fall, but with a few modifications.
“We are coming back,” Galligan insisted.
Larger sections will likely move online, they said, and smaller classes may meet in larger spaces. Classes may also take a hybrid form in which half of students attend on one day, the other half on another, they suggested.
The University plans to test volunteers for COVID-19 until 10-16% of the campus population has been tested for the virus, gathering data for tracing and researching.
Galligan said he envisioned a “vibrant, but different” campus environment come fall.
Masks will be worn, food may be provided via “grab-and-go” services and staircases may be reserved for either “up” traffic or “down” traffic.
Galligan said the school will accommodate professors who do not wish to return to campus for health concerns. Both leaders reiterated that the well-being and safety of students, faculty and staff is their top priority.
Galligan also said that the University received $26 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Half of the stimulus went to the students, and the other half reimbursed LSU for COVID-19 expenses. Research has received no financial support yet, he said. LSU has frozen hiring and spending through the end of the fiscal year.
Galligan said on Giving Day, the school raised over $1 million, an increase from about $800,000 raised last year. He said that the cost of the pandemic has been significant.
The two leaders said that plans will be finalized in the next few weeks.