N.O. Officials: Tulane University allowed to play football

New Orleans city officials say Tulane University is allowed to move forward with their football program and game schedule because of their COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

At a press conference Friday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says Tulane University’s COVID-19 mitigation polices are why the school can play football this season.

“They have presented a robust plan, well-resourced approach for identifying and mitigating risks as they have demonstrated with their student body population, with students returning back to campus,” Cantrell said. “Bottom line, Tulane can proceed, because we have received and approved the mitigation plans in place.”

In an effort to be transparent, Cantrell adds that Tulane University has been an embedded partner in her panel responsible for reopening the city amid the pandemic.   

New Orleans Department of Health Director, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, says Tulane can play football because it has the recourses needed to keep their student athletes safe.

“Tulane is able to provide…not unlike the NFL…an incredibly robust testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols, not just for their athletes but for their entire student body,” Dr. Avegno said. “We have reviewed their safety measures and health guidelines from every part of how their athletes will play their games. They’ve been devised by the NCAA, Tulane’s Conference, and medical staff. Reviewing these, and understanding them, and speaking with their physicians and staff, we do believe they provide a level of mitigation that we can support.”

Avegno says Tulane agrees to abide by the Phase 2 restrictions and cap Yulman Stadium’s capacity at 50% with 250 fans in the stands. Tulane fans attending a Tulane game at Yulman Stadium will be required to wear masks and social distance.

Dr. Avegno says high school football programs should model their own COVID-19 mitigation plans after Tulane’s policies, if they want to continue to play football safely amid the pandemic.

“This is the level of thought and careful attention to the health and safety of young people and coaches we are looking for,” said Dr. Avegno. “We are working with our high school representatives in partnership to figure out what that looks like.”

The city plans to meet with school athletic officials on Monday. “We are awaiting final guidance from LHSAA to see what they are proposing,” Dr. Avegno said. “And again how can we make it as safe as possible.”