Notre Dame Cancels Classes After COVID Spike

Rise in cases traced to off-campus gatherings
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2020 5:56 PM CDT
Notre Dame Cancels Classes After COVID Spike
Students make their way across campus at the University of Notre Dame on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in South Bend, Ind.   (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

Notre Dame University on Tuesday canceled in-person undergraduate classes for two weeks after a spike of coronavirus cases that occurred since the semester began Aug. 10. University president the Rev. John Jenkins said there have been 147 confirmed cases of coronavirus on campus since the start of classes for the university’s approximately 12,000 students, the AP reports. Jenkins said he decided against sending students home after consulting with the St. Joseph County Health Department. Instead, university officials decided steps could be taken short of closing the campus while still protecting students' health and safety. The university is advising off-campus students not to visit the campus and on-campus students not to venture off-campus and is restricting student gatherings to 10 people or fewer.

The university is allowing graduate student access to research laboratories and libraries. Athletic teams subject to surveillance testing can continue to gather for sanctioned activities, but will be closely monitored. "The virus is a formidable foe,” Jenkins said in announcing enhanced testing for students experiencing symptoms and surveillance testing for those without symptoms. “For the past week, it has been winning. Let us as the Fighting Irish join together to contain it.” According to Jenkins, the university has traced the spike in COVID-19 cases to off-campus gatherings where neither masks were worn nor physical distancing observed. Jenkins asked students to help in identifying others who have been flagrantly violating safety protocols. (UNC-Chapel Hill has also gone remote after an outbreak.)

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