GSU custodial employee tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus

Grambling State University (Photo: Grambling State University)

GRAMBLING, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — An employee for Grambling State University’s custodial company has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Grambling State officials, the employee had minimal contact with the campus and those who may have been exposed have since been notified and appropriate measures have been taken.

Meanwhile, GSU is scaling up COVID-19 prevention protocols. The university has shifted many operational functions to telework in accordance with the Governor’s “Stay-at-Home Order” while continuing to support the 200 students who remain on campus.

GSU President Rick Gallot said, “Our response strategy to the coronavirus outbreak has been to take every reasonable precaution to stay ahead of the spread. From the onset, our Coronavirus Prevention & Response Task Force has been preparing to keep our community safe and healthy. We will continue working with the UL System and follow directives from State authorities to ensure the utmost educational experience possible in spite of the current climate.”

On Tuesday Gallot released other information on what GSU is doing to flatten the coronavirus curve and support student transition.

Since the first notice of Grambling State’s monitoring the novel coronavirus on February 27, the University has announced a number of student, faculty and staff-centered protective measures including the cancellation of all Spring events and the promotion of CDC-recommended actions like proper hand washing, increased disinfecting of campus spaces and the addition of the gram.edu/coronavirus webpage to keep the Grambling State community informed of updates.

Individuals attempting to contact University Offices are encouraged to visit the University’s website to find contact information for respective departments.

Grambling State Students Depart Campus

In accordance with federal and state social distancing recommendations, over 2,000 students have checked out of University-provided housing as a result of the effort to decrease campus population density. On March 13, University administration announced the shift to 100% online classes and issued an official notice encouraging as many students as possible to continue their coursework from their permanent addresses.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students Gourjoine Wade said, “We are glad that our students have taken responsibility for their part in promoting public health and safety. As we approach Spring Break, we are continuing to urge students with Louisiana residences to head home.”

The University has offered up to a 27.5% credit on housing and meal costs for students who check out of university-provided housing through the Office of Campus Living prior to March 30. In keeping with the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order, Grambling State expects that all students who are able to return home will do so immediately. Students who depart from campus for Spring Break are not permitted to return to their campus residences.

Relief Fund Assists Student Transition Grambling State’s Office of Advancement promptly established the Student Relief Fund where supporters are donating to help students cover the costs associated with a sudden relocation, including transportation and storage.
“Our alumni and supporters have made a tangible difference for students during this tough time,” said Marc Newman, Vice President of Advancement. “In the near future, additional assistance for technology and research will be essential for our time of remote learning and thereafter.” While most students have devices that allow for distance learning, others are forced to remain on campus or borrow technology in order to complete their coursework. Investors and donors interested in helping the University meet this student need are encouraged to contact the University Office of Advancement at advancementservices@gram.edu.

Faculty & Staff Go Remote

University faculty members began their shift to 100% online learning on March 13 when the threat of COVID-19 hit New Orleans with one confirmed case. The University suspended all classes for the week of March 16-20 to allow time for students and faculty to adjust to virtual instruction. In spite of the one-week suspension, professors have been able to continue with curriculum tracks to keep academics at the forefront of Grambling State’s service model.

“During the transition to online learning, we have tried to carefully balance compassion for the students’ adjustment with thorough teaching and instruction,” said Dr. Connie Walton, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “While many of us are in uncharted territory, working together to answer student and faculty needs continues to be our best tool.

”Following the recent state-wide closure of public schools and the Stay-at-Home Order, University staff and administrators have shifted to telework where possible.

Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Human Resources Officer Lori Williams said, “While some mission critical functions must be carried out on campus, there are a large percentage of team members who have remote capability.”

Williams added, “Telework gives us the opportunity to maintain business continuity while keeping team members safe. Additionally, it creates the flexibility to accommodate the dynamic needs associated with statewide school closures.”

While most students have transitioned away from campus to continue remote learning for the remainder of the semester, international students and those with extenuating circumstances have stayed due to necessity. University operations will continue to support their campus life with significant adjustments for safety.

Modified Campus Dining

On March 16, Governor John Bel Edwards mandated that restaurants state-wide serve only take-out and delivery orders to reduce public crowds and encourage social distancing. Grambling State’s dining partner, SodexoMAGIC immediately shifted all campus dining to take-out only and has since adjusted dining schedules and location availability in response to the mass exodus of students on campus.

Preventative Operations Adjustments

Personnel who continue reporting to campus to carry out essential functions for student support are observing increased sanitation practices, social distancing, and revised work schedules to help minimize COVID-19 spread. Additionally, students are observing such university policies as avoiding group gatherings, sanitizing workspaces in computer labs after use, and returning to their living spaces no later than 10:15 p.m.

While the University is not closed, outside visitors are prohibited from entering campus without a specific business purpose and only with the permission of administration. The Eddie G. Robinson Museum is closed and all University sporting events have been suspended for the season.

Those needing to contact University offices should refer to the online directory at gram.edu and reach out via email. More information on the University’s prevention and response efforts can be found at gram.edu/coronavirus.

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