SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As students prepare to return to campuses for the start of the fall semester amid a fourth COVID surge, Louisiana colleges and universities are releasing their COVID-19 plans and policies and at least four of them will require students to be vaccinated before they arrive on campus.

Most colleges and universities in Louisiana are following state and federal COVID-19 guidelines regarding masking, which currently recommends masking when indoors and outdoors when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

Where the CDC guidance on COVID-19 originally said masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated, the guidance now recommends masks be worn indoors by all, even those who are vaccinated. The guidance specifically includes all teachers, staff, students, and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.

State law already allows the Louisiana Department of Health to determine which vaccines public schools need to require every school year. Currently, that list includes vaccinations against diseases such as polio, smallpox and diphtheria. Students can opt out for religious and medical reasons.

State law also allows any school, college, or university to require immunizations beyond their regular list, with approval approval from the Office of Public Health. At least four private universities in Louisiana have gotten permission to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students before the fall semester begins: Dillard University, Loyola University New Orleans, Tulane University, and Xavier University.

As of Wed., Aug. 4, LSU was requiring students to submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. For anyone unvaccinated, a monthly test must be taken throughout the semester. Masks and face coverings will be universally required indoors, including in all classrooms, as well as on-campus transportation. Anyone who receives a positive COVID-19 test result or has been in close contact with a positive case is required to follow the isolation and quarantine protocols.

The LSU Board of Supervisors in June voted to urge LDH to add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of mandated vaccinations for college students once federal regulators give them full approval.

Pfizer and Moderna, two of the main COVID vaccine makers, have applied for full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but that is not expected to happen before school resumes in August.

Search by school system or campus below for information specific to each school and links to more information.