Since LSU will not mandate vaccines, college susceptible to COVID ask to maintain educating on-line | Schooling
Jerry Ceppos are running out of options and time.
On August 23, the LSU resumes personal lessons with a mask mandate, but without vaccines. Although students will start moving this week, the rules of social distancing are still in the air.
If Ceppos sticks to the school’s plan, the 76-year-old mass communication professor – whose age and health make him particularly vulnerable to the now more contagious coronavirus – will begin teaching a few hundred students in a few hundred years. Sitting classroom in just a few weeks.
Or, if he can help, he stays virtual.
Although the final decision has not yet been made by the newly installed management of LSU, students returning to campus in a couple of weeks will likely …
“Social distancing is logistically impossible when we have full classrooms,” he said. “If the school doesn’t require vaccinations, we need to think about an online option.”
One of the only ways he can think of to exercise this option is to ask for disabled accommodation. This week, Ceppos joined a number of other faculty members – exactly how many are still unclear – to petition to work out exemptions under federal law for Americans with disabilities.
Rosemary Peters-Hill is one of them.
The adjunct professor of French studies said she had a condition that weakens her immunity to COVID and most viruses. While 90% of the lecturers stated that they were vaccinated, the LSU only got a feeling for the vaccination rates of the students from a self-reported, sparsely answered survey.
According to this, only 30% of the students state that they have taken the jab.
Peters-Hill believes that a lack of experience contributes to the inequality. Many students do not live with their families and may not feel the same responsibility or urgency to get vaccinated.
“As parents, as people who have lost family members, friends and co-workers, we know what this virus can do,” she said.
“We lived it.”
With her immune deficiency and two children – aged 7 and 5, one with a heart defect, both too young for the injection – Peters-Hill shares Ceppos’ fear of the fall semester.
“I’m vaccinated,” she said, “but I’m scared.”
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With the prospect of facing a 70% unvaccinated class in the midst of a surge in pandemic triggered by the far more catchable Delta variant, Peters-Hill would rather not take their risk.
She also filled out these ADA forms. And she urges colleagues in her position to consider the same approach.
“The LSU did not give us the opportunity to work from home this semester because of COVID,” she explained. “ADA accommodation inquiries are always available.”
Only a few months in his role as Louisiana State. University President William F. Tate IV is under tremendous pressure to get things right when it comes to pandemic protocols. In May, the month he was hired to replace Tom Galligan, 90% of faculty voted for the required vaccination – something hundreds of universities across the US have since made it mandatory.
The attorney’s attempts to arrange an interview with Tate on the matter were unsuccessful. But in a July 29th Zoom meeting with the faculty, he explained some of his reasons.
It goes without saying that it is mandatory to wear a mask, he told them. But asking for vaccines is not an option because of the legal burden on it. Winston Decuir, LSU legal advisor, later stated that the university cannot make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for on-campus study without violating students’ constitutional rights.
The LSU, which prescribes vaccines, would likely lead to a lawsuit – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has already sued several other schools on the matter. However, the question of constitutionality seems to be up for debate. In the first such decision, a federal judge recently upheld the constitutionality of Indiana University’s decision to require COVID vaccinations.
After Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry threatened legal action against a medical school in northern Louisiana for overriding rules last week …
As for social distancing, Tate told faculty on the Zoom call that he would announce these rules sometime this week.
During the July 29 Zoom call, LSU’s medical advisory committee suggested limiting classroom capacity to 50%, which Tate would consider, among other things.
Ceppos said he understands how difficult these decisions are – especially for a new university president. But the stakes are too high to let people down.
“I know the government and I know they are concerned about our health and safety,” he said, “but the policies of this pandemic have led to their timid response to this major crisis.”
Ceppos said he vividly remembered the fear and uncertainty he felt as he climbed the stairs of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication Building in March 2020 when the pandemic first hit the United States.
Now, 17 months later, the thought of returning to the same place with so many of the same dangers gives him flashbacks.
“That day is engraved on my mind,” he said. “And I don’t want to see it again. I don’t think anyone will do that. “