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Senate discusses solutions for students in quarantine

| Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Notre Dame student senate met Wednesday to discuss a new order pushing for dual-delivery of classes for students in quarantine due to the University’s COVID-19 procedures.

To begin the meeting, student body vice president Matthew Bisner took roll call and the senate approved last meeting’s minutes.

The senate then heard an update from the committee on the constitution and from a meeting between vice president for student affairs Fr. Gerard Olinger and student body leaders.

Bisner explained that Allan Njomo, student body president, and Bisner met with Olinger to discuss student concerns about the University’s COVID-19 response this semester.

The meeting demonstrated a greater need for communication between University officials and the student body, Bisner said.

“We came into this pandemic with perhaps an overcommunication of guidance, policies, principles, strategy and what it meant that we had a good idea of what was going on,” Bisner said. “This semester, especially, that communication and that flow of information have been extremely tiny. I think we impressed upon the need for a return of communication.”

Bisner also reported to the senate that the administration is looking into how students can get free testing kits delivered to their dorms by the United States Postal Service, as there were some issues reported with the addresses of some dorms on campus.

Next, the senate moved on to new business and heard a bill brought to the floor by Benjamin Erhardt, Keough Hall senator. The bill, resolution SS 2122-08, was called “a resolution calling for dual-delivery of academic content in alignment with current university covid-19 protocols.”

The purpose of the order, Erhardt said, is to allow students to attend classes via Zoom while they are in quarantine or isolation for COVID-19.

“Effectively, this is addressing the issue that many students who go into quarantine — albeit shorter quarantines this year than last year — do not have the option of attending classes live via Zoom,” he said. “It also encourages faculty to continue to record lectures send material to students in quarantine.”

Erhardt explained that the current way to attend Zoom class while in quarantine is by receiving permission from the Center for Student Support and Care but that the website to apply for such an accommodation is not currently working.

After the reading of the proposed order, the senators had a period of questioning and debate. Abraham Figueroa, Knott Hall senator, brought up whether the order had possible legal implications for the University.

“It is my understanding that the reason why they don’t offer dual-delivery is because of the fear of discrimination lawsuits,” Figueroa pointed out.

Other co-sponsors of the order, judicial council president David Haungs and Fisher Hall senator Maclane Farrel, responded by explaining that the legal matters can be dealt with and discussed once the order reaches the faculty senate and other administrators that would have more knowledge on the possible implications it may carry.

The resolution passed after further debate over legal issues and other possible solutions.

The senate discussed another new resolution, SO 2122-16, which contained an order to establish the political council. This resolution was not voted on due to time constraints, and a motion to adjourn was passed.

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About Bella Laufenberg

Bella Laufenberg is a sophomore biological sciences major, who likes news much more than organic chemistry. She is also in the journalism, ethics and democracy minor. At The Observer, she currently serves as an Associate News Editor.

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