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Notre Dame to require masking until 90% of community is fully immunized after COVID booster

| Friday, December 31, 2021

According to a Friday email from the Office of the President, the University will update certain COVID-19 protocols until Feb. 4 or until at least 90% of the campus community is effectively fully immunized after receiving the COVID vaccine booster.

Protocol updates include an indoor masking requirement and new guidelines for gatherings and events. The University has also modified quarantine and isolation procedures according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“With a January 21 deadline for booster verification, we can expect the indoor masking requirement to extend two weeks beyond that date, to February 4,” the email said. “If our campus community is able to reach the goal of 90 percent booster verification before January 21, we can consider lifting the indoor masking requirement sooner, depending on conditions on campus and locally.”

Masking requirement

Until 90% of the community achieves the full protection of an approved booster, all students, faculty and staff will be expected to wear masks indoors on campus, according to the email. This requirement does not apply when alone in private offices, or for students in residence halls.

Consistent with past policy, all visitors will also be required to wear a mask indoors. When the indoor masking requirement is lifted, professors may continue to require mask-wearing in classrooms, laboratories and studios, the email said.

The email asked anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms to wear their masks indoors while symptoms persist to avoid the spread of disease, and it emphasized whoever feels more comfortable masking to continue to do so without feeling the need to offer an explanation.

Gatherings and events

Until the mask requirement is lifted, University-sponsored gatherings taking place either on or off campus may not include food or drink. Venues must also be appropriately sized for the gathering. More information on gatherings and events can be found in the University’s COVID information website.

Quarantine and isolation updates

The University also offered update protocols given the CDC’s recent updates to quarantine criteria.

Fully vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID will be required to isolate for five days instead of 10 days. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine, but will have to mask for five days, monitor themselves for symptoms and get tested on the fifth day.

Members of the community who are not fully vaccinated and are deemed close contacts will have to quarantine for five days and will need to test negative before they return to normal activities, per the email. More information on quarantine and isolation procedures for unvaccinated individuals can be found in the University’s COVID information website.

Booster deadline verification

The deadline for booster verification was recently moved to Jan. 21. The University will offer booster clinics for students on Jan. 11-14 and for faculty and staff Jan. 21 in the Joyce Center.

Nonetheless, the email encouraged members of the Notre Dame community to receive the booster as soon as possible before classes for the spring semester start Jan. 10, since it takes 10-14 days for the booster to take full effect.

To be considered fully vaccinated, students and faculty must have received two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, plus a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster, since the CDC has determined these vaccines to be the most effective against the Omicron variant.

Furthermore, to advance the 90% goal, the email encouraged community members to upload verification of their booster as soon as possible. More information on how to do so can be found in the University’s COVID information website.

“We realize that many of us are weary of following COVID protocols. Thank you for your continued patience, resilience and fortitude,” the email concluded. “Given the great progress in the fight against COVID over the past 22 months, we hope that the measures we’ve outlined will be temporary in nature. In the meantime, let’s continue to be generous with one another and do our best to embody the faith, love and kindness that have always characterized our community.”

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