NEW ORLEANS (February 21, 2022) – Dillard’s student organizations are back to hosting in-person events this semester, according to officials, and safety precautions will continue to ensure COVID cases don’t increase drastically.
An examination of Bleu Connect shows some 80 events have been announced so far for the semester online.
Dr. Roland Bullard, vice president for Student Success, said COVID cases “have tapered off, and the dynamics are literally changing daily.”
“The required vaccination and masking have been a major tool in our fight against COVID,” he added.
The most recent Dillard COVID dashboard, covering Feb. 11-17, indicates two COVID cases identified on campus and one person quarantined. The numbers represent less than 1 percent (0.13 percent) of the population. Some 123 people have been identified with COVID on campus since August 2021.
Meanwhile, the Louisiana Department of Health reported that as of Feb. 18, the state has had nearly 881,000 confirmed cases and more than 14,000 deaths. Orleans Parish is the No. 2 parish, following Jefferson. Orleans has had more than 77,000 cases and 994 deaths to date. The other three parishes in the top five are East Baton Rouge, Caddo and St. Tammany.
Dr. Courtney Williams, director of the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership, or SEAL, said event check-ins, face masks, social distancing and other safety precautions will help to ensure everyone’s safety on campus during these events.
Bullard added that since students were only eligible to receive their booster shots five to six months after receiving their two COVID vaccination shots, only a small percentage have taken booster shots. He said a booster mandate will be issued soon.
Williams said “our health ambassadors,” Bleu Troop, which is a student-led COVID-19 prevention initiative, will be present at events to help monitor and make sure everyone is following COVID precautions. Student Health also will continue surveillance testing; it tests at least 10 percent of Dillard’s population, about 120 students each week.
Williams said the goal is to offer a virtual component for every in-person event. However, only six events are designated as being online in Bleu Connect.
Williams said when the pandemic first hit, the school tried staggering times for events to limit numbers present at one time, but the idea wasn’t popular with students. Instead, now the plan is to hold an event social events for a longer period “so that gives us more time to kind of stop through.”