University to consider easing COVID-19 protocols following campus vaccine administration
Observer Staff Report | Monday, April 5, 2021
In an email Monday morning, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced the University will consider lifting certain COVID-19 restrictions if 90% of the student body has had at least the first vaccination dose.
Jenkins encouraged students to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine at the on-campus vaccination site at the Compton Family Ice Arena, which will begin vaccinating students Thursday.
“We strongly encourage every student who has not yet been vaccinated to take advantage of this opportunity,” Jenkins wrote. “We urge you to do this not only for your own health and safety, but for the protection of our entire university community, our local community, and your families and home communities as we approach summer.”
Although the email said the vaccine is not fully effective until about two weeks after the second dose, the University believes they will be able to lift some COVID protocols throughout the vaccination process.
Specifically, the email said that once 90% of the Notre Dame student population has received the first dose of the vaccine, students will be able to visit other residence hall common spaces, gather outdoors in groups of 25 or less without masks and participate in currently prohibited recreational opportunities, such as basketball and volleyball.
These changes will be considered one week after the final day of the first round of vaccinations, the email said, but other health protocols — including weekly surveillance testing, indoor mask requirements and physical distancing guidelines — will remain in place.
The email also identified additional restrictions that could be lifted if 90% of students receive the second dose of the vaccine. These changes would include eliminating weekly surveillance testing and exit testing for fully vaccinated students, as well as providing more outdoor activities for the graduating class of 2021, according to the email.
Jenkins said these plans may be subject to change.
“As has been true throughout the pandemic, we may need to adjust these plans if local or national conditions warrant, but I wanted to share with you what we plan to do over these next weeks, assuming a high level of participation in the vaccination program,” he wrote.