Campus Modifications in Response to Case Rates

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

We are grateful for the many ways students have diligently adhered to campus health and safety protocols. However, because positive case counts were again heightened at 48 and 46 yesterday and today, we must make several modifications to on-campus activity. 

Cases remain concentrated among undergraduate students on campus although, encouragingly, the rate of first year student transmission has decreased since last week. The majority of cases are asymptomatic, which provides hope that increased surveillance testing is catching infections early. Contact tracing indicates the source of transmission is unmasked interaction between students in small, informal social settings. We have not identified any evidence of transmission in classroom or research settings. Classes will therefore continue to meet in person.

In order to address this concerning trend of positive cases, effective Thursday, Feb. 18 through at least Monday, March 1:

  • All student activities will be offered virtually. Student club and organization gatherings will move from in-person to virtual. While we are not able to offer club and intramural sports at this time, campus and residence hall fitness facilities will remain open.
  • Seating capacity in several lounge and dining locations, including all dining tents, Duncan Student Center, LaFortune Student Center, Rasmus Club, and the North and South Quad Lodges will be reduced by approximately 25% to increase distancing. Rohr’s will transition to take out dining only.
  • Undergraduate residence hall visitation will regrettably be limited only to residents of that hall. Residents may have guests in their student rooms, but those guests must be from the same hall and are limited to no more than two students beyond the number of residents assigned to the room. When resident guests are present in student rooms, everyone in the room must wear masks, distance appropriately, and leave doors open to increase ventilation.
  • Students may still attend Mass in any residence hall, but they must depart from the hall after the liturgy ends.

Please help us reduce case rates. Wear masks when you are with others even when no one is watching. Be honest with contact tracers - the information you share is confidential and helps the University identify transmission trends. Consistent with expectations in the Campus Compact, leave any bar or restaurant where mask wearing and distancing protocols are not being followed. Thank you for your excellent compliance with surveillance testing.

If we are able to reverse this concerning trend together, we hope to relax the modifications we are announcing today. We will update you on our progress as a campus community no later than Monday, March 1.

In response to today’s news, let's recommit to our efforts and remember to be kind and compassionate toward ourselves and each other. Stay warm during this cold weather, and thank you for all you are doing to keep our community healthy. 

In Notre Dame,

Erin Hoffmann Harding
Vice President for Student Affairs

Mike Seamon
Vice President for Campus Safety and University Operations