NEW ORLEANS — When Tulane Senior Carrigan English saw an email from the university president Thursday morning, she was hoping for good news. It wasn’t.
“I was kind of disheartened to see that this is what we have reached this point at with COVID,” said English.
Pointing to a spike in COVID cases on campus, that email encourages students to limit themselves to their residence hall or off-campus housing for the next two weeks. Intramural sports and attending athletic events are suspended until further notice. Also, all in-person student programs and events are canceled. The exceptions are in-person classes, dining and essential activities.
“It was kind of like just more of the same honestly,” said Freshman Aaron Rotter.
For Rotter, these aren’t big changes.
“We just kind of want everything to be over with and if this is the fastest way to get it done this is the best way to do it,” said Rotter.
The temporary restrictions come as Tulane sees one of its highest spikes in COVID cases and just a week after returning to in-person classes. A campus wide email Wednesday from the dean of students points to large groups of unmasked students at bars and off-campus parties as being a source for new cases, calling it a “reckless disregard for others.”
“While we do want to have that college experience, we do have to realize what’s at stake and that’s not only our lives but the community around us,” said English.
Students who break the rules, whether on or off campus, can face suspension or expulsion.
“I would just encourage all the students whether you live on campus or off-campus just to listen to the restrictions,” said English.
Six fraternities and sororities at Tulane University have been suspended as part of a crackdown on COVID-19 violators. School officials say three of those have since been reinstated by the school.
University President Michael Fitts ordered the six Greek organizations be suspended after finding that large groups of students associated with them were gathering at bars and at off-campus parties.
Sigma Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta all remain under suspension for "reports of misconduct related to COVID-19 behavioral expectations," Tulane officials said.
Alpha Epsilon Phi and Zeta Psi were placed on interim suspension last week, but have since been taken off suspension after an investigation.
Fitts said in a series of letters to students that all in-person student programs outside of classes would be suspended, and that students should limit themselves to their dorms or off-campus housing when not in class.
Tulane has reported 326 positive COVID-19 cases on its public dashboard since Jan. 4. Classes resumed Jan. 19, with about 4,000 students returning to on-campus dorms after an extended winter break.