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University empties storage rooms to help hospitals meet supply needs

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Tropical Storm Cristobal announcements

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus will be closed Monday, June 8, in response to Tropical Storm Cristob

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Website a one-stop shop for details about safe return to campus

UL Lafayette has a website with safety protocol info and answers to user-submitted questions as students and personnel return to campus over coming months.

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University confirms two COVID-19 cases

Once the diagnoses were made, the University’s COVID-19 Student Affairs Response Team activated protocols that outline student care while also protecting the health of the campus community.

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Shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak, faculty and staff members donated supplies typically reserved for aspiring scientists or nurses to medical facilities dealing with supply chain shortages.

The College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions donated gloves, gowns, face shields, disposable thermometers and stethoscopes, for example. 

It was an easy call, said Dr. Melinda Oberleitner, dean of the college. “It wouldn’t have been right to sit on these supplies when they could be used to care for patients,” she explained.

The departments of Biology and Chemistry also unloaded stock. Dr. Paul LeBerg, head of the Department of Biology, donated 250 boxes of gloves normally worn by students conducting experiments, dissections and chemical analyses.

Face shield respirators that provide protection against harmful chemicals, masks and gowns were shipped out, too. “We knew that the hospitals had a real need, and we wanted to address it,” LeBerg said.

The Department of Chemistry chipped in boxes of gloves and plastic goggles for local hospitals.

A pair of professors, Dr. August Gallo and Dr. Ryan Simon, relied on their chemist’s skills to help University essential personnel and students remaining on campus.

They formulated batches of hand sanitizer. The main ingredient was ethyl alcohol, the kind useful in chemistry experiments and – in other settings – at happy hour.

“There are several formulations on the Internet, but we followed the World Health Organization formulation,” Gallo explained.