University to ease restrictions after reaching first 90% vaccination goal among students
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, April 15, 2021
In a recent email to the Notre Dame community, University President Father John Jenkins announced that 90% of undergraduates and professional students have received at least the first dose of a vaccine — thus meeting the University’s previously announced vaccination goal — and that some protocols will be lifted April 21.
“Among groups with the highest COVID infection rates, undergraduates and professional students, 90% have either been fully vaccinated or have received the first dose of a two-dose series,” Jenkins said in the email. “These percentages will allow us to move ahead with relaxing some campus health protocols, as previously announced.”
Despite the time needed for the vaccine to reach maximum effectiveness, Jenkins said that beginning April 21 — the last “mini-break” day of the semester — the University will allow students to visit one another in the 24-hour spaces of residence halls, raise the maximum number for informal and outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25, eliminate the mask requirement when outdoors in groups of 25 or fewer and reinstall basketball rims and volleyball nets.
Students will hear more information about the new protocols from vice president for campus safety and university operations Mike Seamon and vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding, the email said.
The email also reminded students who have just received their first dose to receive their second dose of the vaccine and to continue following those health protocols that remain unchanged — masking indoors, carrying a mask at all times, maintaining physical distancing, hand-washing and completing the Daily Health Check.
“I am tremendously proud of the way our campus has responded to this challenging year, and we have much to celebrate,” Jenkins said in the email. “At the same time, I urge you to continue to exercise caution and follow our health protocols.”
Jenkins also said the University will soon announce expanded opportunities for graduating students soon and will provide an update on surveillance and exit testing protocols for students that have been fully vaccinated.
Jenkins thanked Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, the Indiana Department of Health, county health officials, students who have been vaccinated and all who have worked at the on-campus vaccination site — especially volunteers — for helping reach this first goal.
“In my visits to the site, I found the cooperative, generous spirit of all involved simply inspiring,” he said in the email. “I cannot thank enough those members of our community, and all those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to respond to the challenges of COVID.”