Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,
We write with some important updates related to the recent increase in campus COVID-19 cases referenced in Fr. Jenkins’ video message this afternoon.
INFORMATION ON CASES
Since Monday, we have had a total of 41 positive cases reported. Contact tracing indicates many of these cases originated from larger parties and gatherings last weekend. The number of close contacts for each positive case has also increased substantially, with as many as 10-15 close contacts needing to quarantine. As was true earlier in the semester, our experience demonstrates that transmission occurs in social settings where individuals are unmasked and often sharing food or drink together.
These trends are concerning, and we ask for your help to address them.
Two weeks ago, we relaxed the rules around the size of informal gatherings based on encouraging case numbers. Unfortunately, because of this week’s increased positive cases and the number of close contacts identified by those testing positive, in the interest of everyone’s health and safety, we must again restrict informal gatherings to groups of 10 or less outdoors. Indoor gatherings should also not exceed 10, and may need to be smaller based on the distanced capacity of the space to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Please wear your mask and practice physical distancing whenever you are with friends outside of your assigned room or off-campus home.
Also, we urge you to avoid bars and restaurants where these health protocols are not observed, as the risk of contagion is high in these settings. The St. Joseph County Health Department is concerned about local trends, and they have increased their enforcement efforts accordingly.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We know this is a challenging time and there is fatigue on campus. Your efforts have been extraordinary in so many ways, yet the virus is unrelenting. We need to continue to be willing and able to adapt as circumstances change.
Notre Dame students are the most caring, dedicated, resilient, and talented people we know. Please use these wonderful talents to recommit yourselves to our community’s well-being. We have made it 66 days since the first day of classes. We only have 36 more days to the end of final exams. We can finish the semester in a strong and healthy way if we all:
- Wear our masks
- Practice physical distancing
- Wash our hands regularly
- Complete our daily health checks
- Show up when selected for surveillance testing
Take care of yourselves and one another, both physically and emotionally. We believe in you, and we are here to support you and our entire campus community.
In Notre Dame,
Erin Hoffmann Harding
Vice President for Student Affairs
Vice President for Campus Safety and University Operations