Gov. Edwards’ office, Board of Regents introduce COVID-19 Student Wellbeing Task Force

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Board of Regents, and the Council of Student Body Presidents partnered to form the COVID-19 Student Wellbeing Task Force.

The purpose of the team is to encourage students in Louisiana to get vaccinated.

As of Oct. 15, only 12.4% of people between the ages of 18 to 29 have completed their vaccination series, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

“I see that committee as working trying to understand the culture and what is the best way to get students vaccinated,” LSU Student Body President Javin Bowman said.

The task force is composed of representatives from each of Louisiana’s Public Higher Education Systems.  Students on the team will come from every Louisiana college system.

The formal charge of the COVID-19 Student Wellbeing Task Force will include, but not limited to:

  • Identifying the measures to increase vaccines and address any opposition.
  • Designing and recommending a specific plan for implementing these measures.
  • Including assessment means within the plan not only for student vaccination rates but for evaluating the effectiveness of the plan itself.

“If we keep going at the rate that we’re going, and not doing or taking the proper protocol or guidelines that’s given to us by the state or city officials, then we can’t get anywhere,” Southern University SGA President Kevin Taylor-Jarell, II said.

The members will be divided into four subcommittees: engagement, communication/public relations, mental health, and statistics recording.

Javin Bowman, LSU’s Student Body President, believes the one thing holding his classmates back from getting the shot is a mix of laziness and a lack of reward from getting the vaccine.

He said LSU currently has an 83.3% vaccination rate.

“At this point, if the only time they have to wear a mask is inside of a classroom at their university, but everything outside of that avenue they can go to whatever social event or social gathering without a mask inside of the state and things like that, then it’s hard to try to convince students to get the vaccine on the grounds of just science,” Bowman said.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 16, fans won’t have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test with their ticket to get into Tiger Stadium.

Bowman believes the fewer COVID restrictions in place could make their jobs more difficult.

“That’s just the reality of it. That’s become their new norm, and if their new norm does not require the vaccine, then they’re not going to think of it that way,” Bowman said.

Bowman said they won’t allow that to stop them, in their pursuit to get as many kids vaccinated as possible.

“I would expect people on this committee whether it be student body presidents, or students from other campuses for them to understand their campus’ culture and what things are most important to those students and then from there that’s how you get them vaccinated,” Bowman said.

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