Notre Dame to announce fall semester plans mid-June
Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, April 28, 2020
With other universities making announcements regarding the 2020 fall semester, the Office of the President said in an email to faculty that while there are no definite plans at this time, an update will be provided by mid-June.
The University has created several groups which will work together to plan for the reopening of campus, the email signed by University President Fr. John Jenkins, Provost Thomas Burish and provost-elect Marie Lynn Miranda said. The Academic Year Continuity Working Group will consider alternative approaches for the start of the academic year.
“Given the uncertainty about future conditions, the Working Group members are developing plans that maximize flexibility, considering factors such as the start date of the academic year, modes of delivery of instruction, and options for making changes during the course of the year as circumstances change,” the email said.
According to the email, in “crafting a response to the disruption wrought by the current crisis, we will be guided by our central University goals, found here, and some of the principles they imply.”
The Research Task Force, headed by Bob Bernhard, vice president for research, will create plans for reopening labs, libraries and studios.
To determine the steps necessary to bring the Notre Dame community back to campus, the Working Group will consider advice from experts in medicine, public health and epidemiology. This may include extensive diagnostics and immunity testing, contact tracing and quarantining students as necessary, the email said.
A Faculty Advisory Committee will also help evaluate plans and offer recommendations which will be relayed to University President Fr. John Jenkins.
As information regarding the virus and its transmission continue to change, the email said the predictions are still uncertain.
“We can take encouragement from the devotion and incredible work being done by health care providers and scientific researchers worldwide — including here on Notre Dame’s campus,” the email said. “Nevertheless, at present, we cannot be sure when and if drugs will be developed to treat those with the virus, when tests for the virus and antibodies will be widely available, or when an effective vaccine will be found.”