Category Archives: coronavirus

Grambling State Announces Fall Academic Plans and Phased Return to Campus  

UPDATED JULY 9, 2020

University Facilities and Policies Updated for COVID-19 Prevention

GRAMBLING, La – July 6, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced a hybrid approach to online classes for the Fall 2020 semester along with more information for faculty and staff.

“We’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting regularly to consider all aspects of student, faculty and staff needs,” said President Rick Gallot. “Even though every feasible campus adjustment has been made to help everyone stay safe, with the recent surge in cases, it’s clear that we must remain flexible in our Fall planning.”

Adjustments to Fall Academics

Grambling State’s Fall semester will begin on August 10 and end on November 25. The majority of classes will be taught in a hybrid manner, including online and face-to-face instruction. Grambling State’s hybrid class model is largely online and allows professors to offer optional in-person class sessions as is consistent with CDC and state guidelines. Professional nursing and lab courses among other specialized classes must take place face-to-face.

“Our students will have the choice between learning remotely or returning to campus while taking hybrid courses,” said Dr. Connie Walton, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

In addition to mandatory temperature scans at each building entrance, masks must be worn in all university buildings and offices, excluding private bedroom spaces in residence halls, and appropriate social distancing must be respected. Access to Grambling State’s campus will be limited to faculty, staff, students, and a limited number of approved visitors.

“Many students need to return to campus for a variety of reasons. It’s our responsibility to make sure they have the option to live in safe spaces where they can focus on learning,” said Gourjoine M. Wade, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “We are counting on students and team members to observe new safety policies and our collective effort to minimize health risk.”

All campus resources will be available by online appointment to make sure students have what they need. Eligible students in need of laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, or other support for hybrid learning can apply for additional assistance when these resources become available.

At this time, no changes have been made concerning Fall sports, homecoming, or other events.

“We are being especially cautious with developing procedures to adequately protect our student-athletes and community,” said Dr. David Ponton, Athletics Director and Vice President of Student Affairs.

A Phased Return for Team Members

After months of remote work, university personnel will begin their phased return to campus on July 13, adhering to new safety policies.

“The phased approach will help everyone become familiar with the newly implemented safety procedures and develop a sense of normalcy around campus operations,” said Lori Williams, GSU’s Associate VP for Operations/Chief Human Resources Officer. “By the time students arrive, we can focus our attention on getting them acquainted with new safety procedures.”

  • On July 13, 2020, team members from the following departments are to begin reporting to campus for work: Admissions, Athletics, Campus Living & Housing, Financial Aid, Information Technology Center, Registrar’s Office, Property & Receiving, Mailroom, Controller’s Office, and Tiger 1 Card Services.
  • Academic department heads and deans will report on July 20, 2020.

New campus policies require faculty and staff to wear masks on campus and have their temperatures checked each morning before reporting to their respective work spaces.

In the event that the current surge of COVID-19 infections increases in the coming weeks, adjustments to the Fall 2020 plans may be necessary.

Students and families are encouraged to visit gram.edu/coronavirus for answers to frequently asked questions and contact pertinent departments for assistance with other matters.

For media inquiries, contact Raven Thissel at 318-243-5012 or email mediarelations@gram.edu.

GSU NOTICE: June Travel Mandate Immediately Effective

GSU Logo with Motto

Students, Faculty and Staff: UPDATED JUNE 30, 2020

Your health and safety are of utmost concern to Grambling State University. For this reason, the University is immediately implementing a campus-wide Travel Mandate through July 31, 2020 with the following mandatory tenets:

University-wide Travel Mandates:

  • All university-sponsored international and domestic travel is hereby prohibited;
  • Personal international travel is strongly discouraged by the CDC and Grambling State;
  • Effective immediately, the University requests student and staff to disclose travel plans, both international and domestic, through the GSU Registry of Personal Travel Form.

International Travel Regulations:

  • Grambling State strongly urges extreme caution and judgment for your personal international travel; should students or staff choose to engage in personal international travel, these persons will be required to complete a GSU Confidential Health Form and self-isolate until receiving further guidance from University Health Services.

Regulations for Inbound Travel and Visitors to Campus:

  • Anyone, including University affiliates and invited guests, who arrives on campus having visited or traveled through a location with a CDC levels 1-3 travel warning and areas of high-concentration for COVID-19, must complete a GSU Confidential Health Form and self-isolate until receiving further guidance from University Health Services. Visit the CDC website for current information on travel warnings and high-risk destinations.

Please keep in mind that your travel choices can have urgent impact on those you come in contact with upon arrival and return to Grambling State and other destinations.

Further information on the University’s COVID-19 Prevention and Response efforts are forthcoming. Follow @grambling1901 and check your email regularly for updates.

Grambling State to Gradually Reopen Campus for Employees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grambling State to Gradually Reopen Campus for Employees Beginning June 2020
University Personnel to Return to In-Person Work in Phases with Increased Safety Measures 

GRAMBLING, La – May 26, 2020 – Today, Grambling State announced plans to gradually resume on-campus work for team members beginning June 2020. Details of the University’s multi-phased reopening approach and new safety protocols will be made available to employees in the coming week.

“Taking this gradual approach to bring teams back to campus for work will help us ensure that every single team member becomes familiar with new campus-wide safety procedures,” said President Gallot. “As these safety protocols become normalized on campus, we hope the need for them will subside as we near the Fall semester and welcome back our students.”

The University has plans to implement such practices as mandatory temperature scans at pre-determined medical checkpoints as well as the use of face masks, hand sanitizing stations, and limited building entry points across campus.

“In addition to complying with all state and CDC regulations, we are keeping in mind the holistic wellness of our teams,” said Lori Williams, Grambling State’s Associate Vice President of Operations/CHRO. “Our team members have shown extreme resilience during this unprecedented set of circumstances. We are confident that our collective efforts can help keep campus safe during the transition.”

On March 23, 2020, the University announced the shift of remote capable employees to telework in accordance with the Governor’s initial Stay-at-Home Order. Following Governor Edward’s extension of the mandate, Grambling State’s telework arrangement was extended through May 30.

Grambling State’s Human Resources office works closely with Facilities Management and other key University departments to ensure that workspaces are conducive to social distancing and that employees have the tools needed to telework or take time off to care for dependents still affected by COVID-19. The gradual return to campus for work will consist of small groups of team members returning to their onsite work spaces in an order that best serves student and campus needs.

This announcement comes shortly after Governor Edwards approved a statewide reopening plan which began Friday, May 15. Statewide COVID-19 recovery plans have included the start of the Health Equity Task Force and the Resilient Louisiana Commission Task Force, both of which COVID-19 have Grambling State team members working to lead the charge to restoring health and normalcy to Louisiana communities.

The University of Louisiana System announced last week that all nine institutions, including GSU, were developing plans to welcome students safely back to their campuses for the upcoming fall semester.

For media interviews or more information about Grambling State University, contact mediarelations@gram.edu. To learn more about the University’s response and prevention planning for COVID-19, visit gram.edu/coronavirus.

About Grambling State University 
Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate academic programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System. For more information, visit gram.edu.

Grambling State Prepares for In-Person Instruction This Fall

University Will Open Campus in August In Accordance with UL System Plans 

GRAMBLING, LA – May 12, 2020 – The nine University of Louisiana System member institutions are planning for a return to face-to-face instruction this fall. Institutions are designing plans specific to their individual communities that prioritize the health and safety of students, faculty and staff and the universities’ educational mission.  

“Throughout this event our member institutions have prioritized safety and learning. Those will remain our chief considerations as we begin the process of re-populating our campuses,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “The university experience is more than just attending class and we are optimistic, with the right safeguards in place and following the guidance of health experts, that we will be able to safely return to campus in August.” 

Last month UL System Board Chair Mark Romero appointed an ad hoc committee on post-pandemic operations who will meet later this month to discuss returning to campus and review System-level guidelines to assist universities in transitioning to more normal operations.  

“Our universities have been in lock-step through the interruptions we experienced the past couple of months,” Henderson said. “This systemic coordination is beneficial to students, faculty, staff and the state as a whole.” 

The System’s guidelines will address the re-populating of campuses based on external and internal conditions including segmenting return by waves; testing requirements; increased hygiene; communication practices; and distancing protocols. Grambling State will continue to monitor the ongoing CDC and State guidelines to best protect campus and community. 

Grambling State Professors Selected for Governor Edwards’ COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

Forthcoming Dashboard on Health Equity to Address Coronavirus Deaths in Black Communities 

GSU Professors selecter Governor Edwards Covid-19 Task Force image

GRAMBLING, La – April 22, 2020 – Governor John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and recently appointed experts from across the state to carry out its mission. Grambling State’s Dr. Jacqueline Harris and Dr. Meg Brown were selected to serve on state Task Force, immediately assisting in the development of the Dashboard on Health Equity. 

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, African Americans make up over 56% of coronavirus related deaths.  

“It is essential that health and research professionals join the fight, work to spread awareness, and help ensure that African-American communities have proper resources to testing and treatment,” said Dr. Brown, Head of Grambling State’s Nursing Department.  

Dr. Harris and Dr. Brown will provide expertise in the fields of nursing and data analytics as they relate to ongoing efforts to understand and correct the trajectory of COVID-19 related deaths. Along with diverse leaders from institutions around the state, these leaders will help to educate underserved communities to slow the spread of coronavirus.  

“Health disparities in illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are key factors influencing the high mortality rates in African-Americans,” said Dr. Harris. “We are working to help people access resources and information to slow the spread or fight the virus if they do contract it.” 

More on the Governor’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force can be found here. For more on Grambling State’s efforts to flatten the coronavirus curve in North Louisiana, visit gram.edu/coronavirus

Grambling State to Host Live Question & Answer on Facebook for Students and Families

Virtual Town Hall Flyer - On FBLive Apr. 23, 2020 @ 6:00 p.m. with GSU Provost Dr. Connie Walton and SGA President Steven Wilson, Moderated by Dr. Gourjoine Wade, AVP for Student AffairsAcademic and Student Life Updates from University Provost, Associate VP of Student Affairs and SGA President 

GRAMBLING, La – April 14, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced a virtual Q&A style Town Hall meeting where the University’s Student Government Association President, Steven Wilson, will ask questions submitted by students and families to be answered by Dr. Connie Walton, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost and Mr. Gourjoine Wade, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs. The event continues a series of online “Town Hall” meetings on Facebook Live Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 6 p.m. 

“With our recent announcement that we are continuing education online through Summer Session I, we know our students have questions and we want them to know that we are here to support every aspect of their academic journey,” said Dr. Walton. 

Grambling State today announced that in keeping with the social distancing guidelines for COVID-19 safety, online courses will extend through the first summer session.  More information on the University’s response to COVID-19 can be found in the release here.  

Those planning to attend the virtual town hall should submit their questions to mediarelations@gram.edu by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Viewers will have the opportunity to comment their questions on Facebook Live during the town hall meeting, which begins at 6:00 p.m. 

Grambling State Honors UL System Mandate to Add Pass/Fail Option for Students

University Makes Academic Adjustments to Support Student Success During COVID-19 

GSU Student on Lab ComputerToday, Grambling State University announced an extension for dropping classes as well as the addition of a pass or fail option for students following a Spring semester interrupted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.  

“This is a crisis moment in world history and it requires that we respond to student needs with extreme sensitivity to these unique learning circumstances,” said President Gallot. It’s understandable that student performance may be hindered by all sorts of trauma and challenges, including the virus itself. Adding a pass or fail option is an important indicator that we are in full support of those students who choose to persevere for the sake of their education.” 

The last day for Grambling State students to drop a class has extended to May 21, 2020, after they’ve seen their final grades in order to support a more informed decision on the overall effect of the semester on their collegiate transcript.  

After students have reviewed their final grades in May, they will have several other options concerning their semester courses including the following:  

  1. A student who does not have adequate technology, but was passing a course at mid-term (mid-semester) is eligible to receive an IP grade (In Progress).  This student will be allowed to complete the coursework by a date that is agreed upon by the student and the instructor of the course.  The IP grade is being used instead of the Incomplete since the IP does not negatively impact a student’s grade point average.  Students who desire to receive an IP grade will be required to complete the request to receive an IP form.  This electronic form will be submitted to the registrar’s office and require the instructor of the class to verify the grade of the student at mid-semester.  Once the request is completed the student must contact the instructor to determine the steps that must be taken to complete the requirements for the course. The course will appear on the transcript with the In progress (IP) notation. Once the student completes the course requirements the faculty member will assign the appropriate letter grade. This letter grade will then replace the IP on the transcript.

*Deadline for submission of request to receive IP grade is April 24, 2020 (prior to final examination period)

  1. Students who want to convert a grade earned in a course to a Pass/Fail must submit a request form to receive a Pass/Fail grade.  The Pass grade is reserved for final grades of C, B, or A for undergraduate students and final grades of B or A for graduate students.  The Fail grade is reserved for final grades of D or F for undergraduate students and final grades of C, D, or F for graduate students. 
  • Courses that the undergraduate student earned a grade of C or higher will be listed on the transcript with the designation of Pass (P) attached.  Grades of D or F earned by undergraduate students will appear on the transcript with the designation of Fail (F) attached.  Graduate level courses that a student earned a grade of A or B will be listed on the transcript with the designation of Pass (P).  Graduate level courses with an earned grade of C, D, or F will appear on the transcript with the designation of Fail (F).   
  • A Pass or Fail course has zero quality points.  These courses cannot raise or lower a student’s grade point average.  The Pass/Fail grade does however have the potential to impact scholarships, certain types of financial aid, and other eligibilities in a negative manner.  A student considering this option should discuss the possible impact with the appropriate advisor (financial aid, athletics, academic, agency that awarded the scholarship and others). 

*Deadline for submission of request to receive Pass/Fail grade form is May 21, 2020

  1. Once a student reviews his/her final grades, that student may decide to drop a course.  To drop a course the student will be required to complete an electronic request to drop a course form. The electronic form will be routed to the appropriate department head.  The department head will discuss the request with the student and upon approval, the form will be routed to the dean of the college for approval.  Following both approvals, the request to drop a course electronic form will be routed to the registrar’s office. The course will appear on the transcript with the W designation indicating that the student withdrew from the course. 

*Deadline for submission of request to drop a course(s) form is May 21, 2020 

  1. Once a student reviews his/her final grades the student may decide to keep an assigned grade for a course.  If this is the case, the student will not be required to complete any action for this course.  Many students may decide to keep the final grade for each course.

*Students must make the decision to keep a letter grade for a course by May 18, 2020.  This deadline will support students ability to pursue other choices prior to the May 21, 2020 deadline. 

“Flexible grading options will provide relief for students from some of the stress of this semester’s dramatic adjustments to their instruction model,” said Dr. Connie Walton, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are very proud that our students have continued to work hard at learning and preparing to innovate in their chosen fields in spite of the circumstances, but we don’t want to let their transcripts suffer because of COVID-19.” 

University administration encourages students to consult with academic advisors for assistance in making choices concerning their Spring 2020 Academic Policy options.  

Grambling State Scales Up COVID-19 Prevention Protocols

University Flattens the Novel Coronavirus Curve and Supports Student Transition 

Hand Sanitizer DespenserGRAMBLING, La – March 30, 2020 – Grambling State University has shifted many operational functions to telework in accordance with the Governor’s “Stay-at-Home Order” while continuing to support approximately 200 students who remain on campus to date.  

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

Friday, Grambling State officials learned that an affiliate who works for the University’s custodial partner tested positive for COVID-19. That partner had minimal contact with campus and those who might have been exposed have since been notified and appropriate measures have been taken.  

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 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.  

“We are glad that our students have taken responsibility for their part in promoting public health and safety,” said Gourjoine Wade, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students. “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% refund 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 aims to send more students home and is not allowing students who depart from campus for Spring Break 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 of 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.  

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

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 and reach out via email. More information on the University’s prevention and response efforts can be found at gram.edu/coronavirus.  

For media inquiries, contact Raven Thissel at 318-243-5012 or mediarelations@gram.edu

Confirmed case of COVID-19 coronavirus at Grambling State University

Update as of March 27, 2020

To the Grambling State University community:

Grambling State officials learned today that an affiliate who works for our custodial partner has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The individual self-reported to the University and is currently in self-quarantine with no severe symptoms. We express our well wishes on their recovery and offer our continued support.

The individual was last on campus, March 23, 2020 and had limited contact with others. Those team members who had potential contact with this individual have been contacted and instructed to self-quarantine and contact a medical professional if they experience symptoms.

Personnel who continue reporting to campus to carry out essential functions for student support are observing increased sanitation practices, social distancing, and reducing campus density.

The University continues to closely monitor this situation and will keep you informed of any impacts to the campus community. For the latest updates from Grambling State, monitor your email or www.gram.edu/coronavirus. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Health Services at (318) 274-2351.

Grambling State Announces Modified Campus Life Procedures as Students Prepare to Depart Campus

University Adjusts Dining Options and Visitation in Conjunction with New Executive Order

Update as of March 16, 2020

Grambling State University announced updates to University operations for students as they transition off campus. Effective immediately, March 16, 2020, Grambling State University issues the following mandates in conjunction with today’s statewide social distancing and restaurant operations mandates from the office of Governor John Bel Edwards:  

Campus Dining 

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards took more aggressive measures in efforts to ramp up prevention of the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of movie theatres, bars and other establishments which garner large crowds. Additionally, restaurants in the state must no longer allow dine-in patronage, limiting orders to delivery, take out, and drive-thru options in the interest of public safety. Grambling State’s dining adjustments reflect the nature of this development as follows:  

  • McCall Dining Hall will operate on a modified schedule from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily beginning with closure at 10 p.m. tonight, March 16. 
  • McCall Dining Hall will begin serving only pre-portioned, to-go meals for meal plan holders effective March 17, 2020. 
  • Tiger Express will operate on a modified schedule from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. with dining options to include Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, Firehouse Subs, and the campus convenience store JTS and Taco Bell will close today as a result of reductions in available student workforce. 

Campus Visitation 

Visitation to campus by non-students and non-University personnel is hereby restricted. All campus dwellers must possess current University identification. 

Restricted Hours of Campus Activity  

Students are hereby required to return to residence halls each night by 10:15 p.m. Campus activity must cease beyond 10:15 p.m. All campus facilities, including the dining hall, computer labs and laundromats, will close at 10 p.m. 

Notification of Spring 2020 Semester Residence 

All students residing on campus must complete the Spring Relocation Form no later than Tuesday, March 17. Failure to complete the form indicates intention to transition from campus housing no later than March 23 as indicated in prior University communications.  

Social Distancing Guidelines

Social distancing is applicable to all members of the Grambling State community, including students, faculty, and staff. Social distancing is a best practice recommendation by the CDC designed to prevent or slow the spread of novel coronavirus by reducing the likelihood of transmission through opportunities for close contact. In observance of this practice, group gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people, which includes all on-campus activities for the remainder of the semester. Additionally, individuals on campus are urged to remain at a social distance of 6 feet.

Due to the constant changes in this developing situation, more adjustments to Grambling State’s campus procedures are possible. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged by University administration to check campus email regularly, refer to the gram.edu/coronavirus webpage, and follow Grambling State’s official social media handles for the latest updates as University leadership continues to monitor and follow developing recommendations from national and state medical leaders.