LSU has become the third Power 5 school to announce that it will require fans attending games who are 12 or older to provide proof of vaccination from COVID-19 or a recent negative test.
The university said the decision, announced Tuesday, came after consultation with Gov. John Bel Edwards, LSU President William F. Tate IV, LSU’s Board of Supervisors, the Tiger Athletic Foundation, and Athletic director Scott Woodward.
"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," Tate said. "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."
Last week, Oregon and Oregon State became the first Power Five schools to announce those restrictions for fans attending football games.
LSU’s policy, the first such announced by a Southeastern Conference school, will be in effect when the Tigers play their home opener on Sept. 11 against McNeese State.
Specifically, it requires proof of at least one dose of a vaccine that has received full or emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arrival at the stadium.
Masks will be required for children ages 5 to 11 and encouraged for younger children.
LSU has not yet decided whether older fans who meet vaccination or testing requirements for admission to Tiger Stadium will be required to wear masks at the 102,000-seat, outdoor venue. The university plans to release COVID-19 protocol updates for athletic events starting Friday on its sports website, lsusports.net.
The policy is subject to change as circumstances in Louisiana change during the season. As of Tuesday afternoon, 3,814 new COVID-19 cases were being reported in Louisiana, while 2,856 people in the state were hospitalized with the virus, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
Those not fully vaccinated accounted for 80% of COVID-19 deaths from Aug. 5-11, the department said.
"Our football team has reached 99.1% vaccination, and we are incredibly proud of them for doing their part to protect their team and their community," Woodward said. "We are confident our fans will do the same."
At Auburn, defensive coordinator Derek Mason said he has tested positive for COVID-19, like head coach Bryan Harsin. Mason said in a Twitter post that he is fully vaccinated and has recovered. He is urging others to get the shots.
Harsin has declined to reveal whether he has been vaccinated. Mason says he has lost two family members to COVID-19 and that he has a daughter who is immunocompromised.