LSU president visits White House to discuss COVID mitigations

President Biden recognized the school's actions by inviting President William Tate to the White...
President Biden recognized the school's actions by inviting President William Tate to the White house.(Source: LSU)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU was one of the first in the country to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to be able to attend any home football games.

On top of giving its students a deadline to get either their first shot or provide proof of a negative test before facing expulsion. On Wednesday, September 15, the White House is applauding those decisions. LSU has been praised for setting the bar for other universities with its measures to combat COVID-19 on campus.

President Biden recognized the school’s actions by inviting President William Tate to the White house. The meeting also included representatives from large companies like Disney and Microsoft. Tate was the only higher education leader attending.

“He wanted to highlight and better understand how that might work in other institutions of higher education that don’t have similar requirements,” said Tate.

President Tate boasted about the school’s multi-tiered approach to protecting its students and staff. Including its requirement last week for students to have either their first shot of a vaccine or proof of a negative COVID test by Friday or face being expelled.

“Since instituting the requirements at Louisiana State University, it went from a requirement that there be vaccinations. The vaccination rates at Louisiana State University went from 63% to 81% of the students vaccinated in weeks,” said President Biden at the round table meeting.

“The reality is that 99.999% of our population is compliant with the requirements and I’m very comfortable in saying that I think we’ll be able to get across the finish line with the remainder of the students that we have,” Tate said gleefully.

According to the university, there are currently about 78 students who are on the list for expulsion and expect that number to shrink before anything is finalized.

“What we have done is nothing short of miraculous,” said Tate.

President Tate was also eager to share how the school has revolutionized tracking hotspots of COVID on campus through wastewater testing.

“In that context whether you were vaccinated or not, if you lived in a place that ended up having high levels of COVID through wastewater testing, vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals continued to be tested and we would work on isolation and quarantine,” Tate explained.

Tate also said the school’s vaccine card or negative test requirement for home game attendance worked well over the weekend. Despite multiple reports of the university running out of wristbands at their prescreening locations and not properly screening those attendees at the gates.

“For the most part that process went relatively well despite what was being reported. I do believe that there are a few things we can do to tighten that up. One of which is probably a stronger pre-registration process,” Tate admitted.

President Tate says strengthening the prescreening process will be very important once the SEC games begin. President Biden says he hopes other universities and businesses will follow LSU’s lead when it comes to COVID mitigations on their campuses.

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