Message from Tom Galligan

April 28, 2020; 5:00 p.m.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s stay-at-home order through May 15. Therefore, we will basically continue to operate as we currently are until at least that time. Nonessential employees should continue working remotely and not return to campus yet.

We must continue to follow the Governor’s orders and remember that Louisiana is one of the states that COVID-19 has hit the hardest. What we’ve been doing has made a difference; I believe we have slowed the spread of this dangerous virus and helped to keep each other safe by staying home. Now let’s see this effort through and take heart that we are quite possibly turning the corner.

Around May 15, we hope to begin a phased approach to returning to campus. That process will be deliberate, and we will ensure that we’re all following state and federal guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible. This process could take weeks or even months, but it will be thoughtful. We’ll provide more information on this plan in the days ahead.

Over the next few weeks, and also during our phased return to campus, we will be carefully monitoring the public health of our community. If there are setbacks, such as a resurgence in new cases of the virus, it could impact our timeline for returning to campus.

Meanwhile, the Governor’s order did relax a few restrictions, giving us the opportunity to allow certain research initiatives to continue or restart based upon the plans previously submitted. This will bring a handful of faculty and staff members back to campus now. The Office of Research and Economic Development will reach out to those who qualify for this.

I’m very appreciative of the continued support and cooperation that you’ve all shown, not only to your students and coworkers, but to me as your Interim President. It is a privilege to lead this amazing group of talented people during this time, and the way in which you’ve pulled together to keep LSU moving forward has been an inspiration to me. 

I especially want to thank those who willingly jumped in to fight the virus head on. From the group that has been manufacturing PPE in the PMAC, to the Vet School’s River Road Testing Lab that has been performing virus testing, to the countless medical professionals at our Health Sciences Centers in Shreveport and New Orleans who have been on the front lines of the pandemic, thank you. There are dozens of other examples like these from among the LSU family at all of our campuses — people who have been collecting food for the hungry, scientists who devised ways to use UV rays to clean PPE, and researchers who are working on treatments and vaccines. All of you are heroes. There are too many to name here, but please know how proud we all are of you.

The good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel. I look forward to the day when we are all back together on our beautiful campus, and I’m confident we’ll return stronger than ever. 

Tom Galligan

LSU Interim President