On Monday, Oct. 5, students of the University received an email with the subject line “Alcohol Sales Permitted at Tiger Stadium.”

I briefly glanced at the email before marking it as read, as I had no intention of visiting Tiger Stadium this season and had more pressing emails to read regarding midterms (and study groups and Zoom calls).

It wasn’t until the following day, when I saw a related article in the Advocate, that I finally put it all together: the administration had casually slipped critical information about new, looser COVID-19 policies in-between banal paragraphs about alcohol sales.

The University didn’t have that many restrictions in place to begin with, but now the CDC wellness check would "no longer be required for entry into Tiger Stadium.”

Apparently to the administration, “listening to" fans is more important than protecting them.

Filling out a wellness check is a little inconvenient and puts a tiny bit of a damper on game day, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing; we all need to be reminded now and then that this pandemic is still a threat. Just because an individual hasn’t contracted COVID-19 or lost a loved one doesn’t mean the virus is suddenly gone or any less dangerous. 

Honestly  I get it. I’m tired of this, too. I’ve barely written about anything non-COVID-19 related since the University cancelled classes in March and sent us all online.

I know everyone is suffering from compassion fatigue and just wants to get back to “normal,” but that isn’t a realistic option anymore. Even if “normal” still exists, we are nowhere close to getting back there. 

Eliminating policies meant to help contract-tracing and ensure the safety of the LSU community may seem like a step in the right direction but it’s going to set us back in the long run.

Even our administration recognizes how dangerous its decision could turn out to be, as evidenced by a second email sent on Oct. 6 urging students to get tested “at least once a month.” The proximity between the two emails can’t be a coincidence. 

Obviously, encouraging students to get tested is a good thing, but by acknowledging that it's well aware of students neglecting testing in order to avoid getting positive test results and having to quarantine and miss events, the University basically just admitted it's only loosening these restrictions to make money. 

The University could have easily continued to enforce the CDC wellness check before entry and could have even started enforcing mandatory monthly testing as many have suggested; instead it sent out an email asking students to get tested.

No mandate, no change—nothing but an extra layer of protection for the administration to point to when an inevitable spike in new cases hits in a few weeks. 

Marie Plunkett is a 21-year-old classical studies senior from New Orleans.

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