University in talks to reopen in fall


Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion's Roar

As Governor John Bel Edwards continues to relax restrictions, the university has announced that it plans to resume in-person classes and campus operations in the fall semester.

Dr. John L. Crain, university president, made the announcement in a video released on May 14. In the video, he noted that while university officials are not completely sure what operations during the fall semester will entail, the current plan is to resume normal operations possibly as early as July. 

“Our plan, certainly, is to have on-campus operations, face-to-face classes and all the activities and amenities that come with the college experience,” said Crain. “I certainly look forward to seeing everyone back this fall.” 

Crain also noted that over the past few months, university officials have thoroughly cleaned the campus to prepare for a return of facility, staff and students. 

Andrea Peevy, director of the university health center, shared that while specifics of the campus return are uncertain, the university will use the most up-to-date information and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide policy. 

Health center policy along with university policy are based on the most up-to-date scientific information,” said Peevy. “The changes that will be implemented on a university-wide scale are numerous and all designed to keep our campus community safe.”

According to the CDC’s website, universities that decide to resume campus operations should encourage the use of cloth face coverings, restrict the number of people in large communal areas and enforce social distancing wherever possible. 

The website also emphasizes the importance of on-campus health checks. 

Peevy explained that the UHC has already instituted some process changes to limit potential exposure to infectious disease and limit contact in compliance with the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC. 

“Masks are required to enter the clinic and are supplied at the door,” shared Peevy. “Non-contact temperatures will be checked and screening for symptoms will be done for each patient. There are now separate waiting areas for sick patients. The UHC is now providing telehealth or virtual visits.” 

As the transition to in-person classes begins, Peevy shared what steps students can take to keep themselves safe. 

“Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and wear a mask when within six feet of other people, practice social distancing, avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others, wash your hands if you do, monitor your health,” said Peevy.

Jordan Armand, a junior business administration major, shared that he is looking forward to returning to campus in the fall. 

“Because I am a huge extrovert, I’m excited to return back to campus,” said Armand. “I am sure that campus will look different, but I am just glad to see a possibility of returning to Hammond.” 

Armand also expressed his concerns that a return to campus would present. 

“My only concern would be if I catch the coronavirus and show no signs and later transmit it to an older loved one and they get infected,” shared Armand. “Other than that, I am excited to be back on campus.” 

Students, facility and staff are encouraged to check the university’s website for continued updates regarding the return to campus.