Jenkins announces preliminary fall semester guidelines
Observer Staff Report | Monday, June 15, 2020
In preparation for the fall semester, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced in an email Monday a list of guidelines and practices community members will be expected to follow as they return to campus.
According to the University’s COVID-19 news website, a phased return of students to campus will begin July 27. Move-in for undergraduates will take place over a two-week period, Jenkins said, and more information will follow in the next few weeks from the Office of Residential Life.
Welcome Weekend orientation for new students and their families is currently scheduled to take place in two sessions — the first from Aug. 3-4 and the second from Aug. 5-6 — according to the University’s Welcome Weekend website. There will be more events for students only following the conclusion of both programs, according to the website.
Students, faculty, staff and visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing “when in any University building in the company of others,” and outside when physical distancing is not possible. Jenkins also announced changes in the dining hall schedule and layouts to allow for distancing and other options for take-out meals designed to protect students.
In terms of classes, Jenkins said learning spaces will be adapted for appropriate social distancing.
“Courses that include labs, performances, travel and other unique requirements may be adjusted to accommodate protocols for physical distancing and online access,” Jenkins said.
Community members will also be required to complete daily health screenings on campus and notify University Health Services if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. Protocols for widespread testing will be announced in the next few weeks.
“All students who report symptoms will be expected to follow the testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols established by Notre Dame and our local health officials should they become ill or are exposed to COVID-19,” Jenkins said.
In-person gatherings which meet the University and health guidelines will be approved, and those which do not — including cocurricular and extracurricular activities — will be held virtually, Jenkins said. Notre Dame community members are also discouraged from personal travel away from campus except for special circumstances, and visitors on campus will be limited.
In recognition of the stress and anxiety that can be caused by health and safety changes, Jenkins noted the University will increase mental health resources for students.
“We will take steps to enhance the University’s mental health resources and to encourage us all to attend to this important aspect of our overall well-being,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the current guidelines do not include all of the modifications students will see on campus for the fall semester, and as new information is announced, changes will be made appropriately to ensure the health and safety of the community.
“Throughout the coming academic year, we will need to be creative, flexible, vigilant and unwavering in our commitment to caring for our own health and that of everyone around us,” Jenkins said.