Moving forward from Hurricane Ida

In an email to the Tulane community on Thursday, President Michael Fitts, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robin Forman, and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick J. Norton wrote:

“With our sheltered-in-place students now relocated to Houston, it is time to take the next steps forward in returning our university to normal operations. We are pleased to learn that electrical power has returned to parts of the city. Once electrical service is restored citywide, we will be able to return to on-site classes and operations, likely earlier than expected. As we move forward, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the many Louisianians who suffered much more devastation than New Orleans and the Tulane community, as well as those in the northeast who were also battered by Ida. Through our Center for Public Service, we are reaching out to help these communities in any way we can.

As you know, classes have been canceled for two weeks and will resume online Monday, September 13. We had originally announced that classes would continue online until Wednesday, October 6. However, with the pace of restoration picking up, we are hopeful that we will be able to return to in-person classes and operations even sooner. We will be sure to send any notice of an earlier return well in advance.

While progress is being made and lights are coming on, per city of New Orleans leadership, students, faculty and staff who evacuated should remain away from the city until further notice. Entry to campus buildings is also not permitted. At this time, all buildings on all campuses remain locked down to everyone but essential personnel and contractors who are performing our damage assessments and recovery work. Faculty and staff who are still in the city are, however, able to access the LBC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to cool off and recharge electronic devices. Other exceptions to campus access can be found here.

We have worked to ensure that our dedicated faculty, adjunct faculty and all staff, including hourly and Sodexo workers, continue to be paid as we restore our campuses. We note, though, that many of our staff are currently here on campus working tirelessly to make it safe for our return, or to support essential workers who also remain at their stations. We urge all supervisors to continue contacting their staff to confirm that they are safe and to assess their needs as well as their ability to continue working to sustain and advance our operations.

Staff who are able to relocate to areas with electrical power and internet are asked to continue working remotely until further notice. Emergency funds to relocate to areas with power are also available for Tulane employees. To access these funds, contact Jonathan Small, associate vice president of Human Resources and Institutional Equity. We cannot say enough about our amazing staff who have cared for our students, protected our infrastructure and are now united by the Tulane spirit no matter where the storm has sent them.

Please continue to monitor your email for updates from Tulane, which will also be posted at the Forward TUgether website, where you can find updates, resources and other relevant information as we move forward after Hurricane Ida.

We know that by pulling together and working side by side with our neighbors, we will soon fully restore our campus and city. As in the past, Tulane will play a central role in the city’s next chapter through our research and teaching, community service, K-12 partnerships, cultural preservation, economic renewal and more. We still have much work to do, but sunnier days are ahead for Tulane and New Orleans.”