With Louisiana among the three states with the highest seven-day rolling average of coronavirus cases, Louisiana State University has announced strict safety protocols for football games at Tiger Stadium.
Unlike Midwestern-based Big Ten Conference programs, which so far have focused on mask-wearing in their stadiums' indoor public spaces, LSU is requiring that fans age 12 and older present proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose or a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of kickoff to be granted stadium entry.
According to the LSU athletics website, any vaccine must have received full approval or emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. A vaccination card, a photo or photocopy of a vaccination card, or verified digital proof of vaccination, including LA Wallet or another government-sanctioned mobile app, will be accepted, with entry granted upon visual inspection.
Moreover, those who have not yet received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine must present digital or hard copy proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Guests younger than 12 will not need to present a negative test.
Masks will be encouraged for children younger than 5 and required for children ages 5 to 11 years old.
LSU athletics will continue to update fans on this season’s procedures — including game-day prescreening options to expedite entry, further masking requirements, pop-up vaccination events, frequently asked questions for all safety protocols, and more — as they are finalized, according to the website. The first update will be posted on Friday, Aug. 27. The Tigers open their home schedule Sept. 11 against McNeese State.
According to tracking data from the Mayo Clinic, Louisiana has a daily average of more than 5,000 active coronavirus cases, or 109 cases per 100,000 residents. Only Florida is reporting more active cases.
“As the flagship institution of the state of Louisiana, our foremost responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students, our supporters, and our community,” said LSU president William F. Tate IV, who joined governor John Bel Edwards, LSU’s Board of Supervisors, the Tiger Athletic Foundation and director of athletics Scott Woodward in supporting the protocols. “While we are aware of the diverse perspectives across the nation regarding masks and vaccinations, we must take all reasonable measures to protect our campus and community, not only on game days, but long after guests have left Tiger Stadium. 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.”
Tiger Stadium seats 102,321 fans.
“We have the best fans in college football, and we are doing everything we can to ensure their experience in Tiger Stadium this fall is safe and enjoyable,” Woodward said. “When our fans arrive on Saturdays to cheer on the Tigers, they will have confidence that we have taken measures to mitigate their health risks. Our football team has reached 99.1 percent vaccination, and we are incredibly proud of them for doing their part to protect their team and their community. We are confident our fans will do the same, and I encourage all Tiger fans to receive vaccinations today.”
As part of its online announcement, LSU shared a list of Louisiana vaccination sites.