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University tightens campus restrictions as positive cases rise

| Wednesday, February 17, 2021

In light of a spike in positive COVID-19 cases the last few days, on-campus practices will be modified to decrease transmission, vice president of student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding and vice president for campus safety and University operations Mike Seamon said in an email Wednesday.

While classes will continue to meet in person, all student activities will be required to meet virtually instead of in-person. Fitness facilities on campus will remain open.

In addition, lounge and dining hall locations will reduce seating capacity by 25% in order to increase physical distancing in these spaces, the email said. This change will affect Duncan Student Center, LaFortune Student Center, Rasmus Club and the North and South Quad Lodges.

Undergraduates will only be allowed up to two guests in their rooms from the same residence hall.

“When resident guests are present in student rooms, everyone in the room must wear masks, distance appropriately and leave doors open to increase ventilation,” the email said.

The increase in cases is concentrated among undergraduate on-campus students, and the majority of positive cases are asymptomatic. University leadership believes the primary source of transmission is “unmasked interaction between students in small, informal social settings,” based on the findings of contact tracing.

To date, the University has not seen evidence of COVID-19 transmission in classroom and research settings.

The spike in infection rates comes after the South Bend Tribune reported on a large gathering last Wednesday that was held at Finnie’s Next Door, a downtown South Bend bar popular with students.

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