Louisiana State University (LSU) is reversing course, completely scrapping its vaccination and testing requirements for fans attending games at Tiger Stadium over a month after initially introducing the policy.
LSU announced the original plans in August, requiring fans 12 and older to either provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test. The decision was purportedly made after consulting with left-wing Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). It went into effect on September 11.
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MARCH 23: LSU Tigers fans cheer in honor of their 69-67 win over the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Vystar Memorial Arena on March 23, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
“The current threat to our lives, our health, and to our medical systems due to COVID-19 is overburdening our hospitals, and we must do our part to stop the spread,” LSU President William F. Tate said in a statement at the time.
However, LSU reversed course this week, announcing it will no longer implement the policy, citing declining coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, said in a statement that coronavirus rates in Louisiana “have dropped dramatically across the state over the last couple of weeks, and today, the state has a positivity rate below five percent.”
(RADEK MICA/AFP via Getty Images)
“Because of this success, we are able to lift the vaccine and testing requirements for entry into Tiger Stadium,” O’Neal, who is also a member of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, continued.
“By balancing mitigation efforts and risk in the ongoing fight to end the pandemic, we can protect our community and safely celebrate the traditions that bring us together,” she added.
LSU Director of Athletics Scott Woodward thanked fans for “stepping up to help stop the spread while still supporting the Tigers.”
“Their commitment to protecting our community and supporting our student-athletes has never wavered,” he said, adding, “We remain fully committed to providing a gameday experience that is as safe and as enjoyable as possible for all guests, and we will continue to work with University leadership and rely on medical expertise to ensure we are taking reasonable and necessary precautions to protect the health of our community.”
The policy will formally end on October 16, when the Tigers will face off against the Florida Gators.