March 12, 2020, Ruston, Louisiana – Responding to a directive from Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services (LUMCFS) announced temporary visitation restrictions on the Ruston, Sulphur and Mandeville campuses in an effort to delay community spread of the coronavirus which causes COVID-19. The organization’s goal is to “slow the spread” of the novel coronavirus.

Family visits will be by appointment only. During family visits, only two family members will be permitted at a time for a child, but in general, until the end of the 30-day prohibition against non-essential visitors, the organization is strongly discouraging all visits.

The Home will increase use of teleconferencing with family members. Family members who do have appointments are still required to report directly to the Home’s Nursing Clinic where they will undergo a health screening before visiting a child. Family members with fever will be asked to leave the grounds and will not be allowed to return until they are well.

Following guidance from Louisiana Department of Health, on March 12, 2020, LUMCFS implemented a 30-day prohibition of non-essential visits until April 10, 2020, unless the prohibition is extended by Louisiana Department of Health. To aid in implementing visitor restrictions, visitors to all campuses may notice some restrictions to normal access.

Regarding the changes, Rick Wheat, President and CEO of LUMCFS, said,

“LDH is acting in the best interest of our children, our staff, and our community by restricting non- essential visitors. LDH’s rules are an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Louisiana’s communities. We believe this is a good way to slow the spread.”

Wheat added,

“For a period of time, this restriction will interrupt the community’s involvement with our children. That’s hard. For example, earlier this week a group of ladies was scheduled to visit one of our campuses – like many community volunteers do – and provide a birthday party for some of our children. We had to cancel this event just a few hours beforehand.”

Referring to early reports about the virus, Wheat continued,

“COVID-19 first hit our radar when the confirmed case count in China reached 150. On January 27, we held our first administrative meeting about the virus when the confirmed case count in China reached 2,500. Now it is a pandemic.”

“This is a difficult time. It seems like people have little control, but this is not true. We can always choose to be kind in difficult times. Also, each of us can choose to take specific actions to slow the spread of this virus by practicing great infection control and by following the guidance of the experts at Louisiana Department of Health.”

LUMCFS strongly encourages everyone to use proper infection control. Everyone can do these Personal Infection Control techniques that “Slow the Spread.”

  • Properly wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds.
  • Stay 6 feet from others.
  • Cough into your elbows.
  • Sanitize surfaces and knobs.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Do not touch other persons’ faces.

For information about the novel coronavirus, please visit Louisiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 web page at

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Rick Wheat
President and CEO
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, Inc.


Patrick Blanchard
Director, Public Relations and Development
1 (318) 242-4622

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