After Student Uproar, President of Notre Dame Tests Positive

The Rev. John Jenkins faces calls to resign for not following his school's rules in White House visit
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2020 2:35 PM CDT
Notre Dame President Tests Positive After Apology
The Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, last October.   (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP, File)

The president of the University of Notre Dame has tested positive for the coronavirus, days after apologizing to students for his "error in judgment." The Rev. John Jenkins had attended President Trump's announcement of his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who teaches at Notre Dame, to the Supreme Court on Saturday at the White House. Jenkins could be seen not wearing a mask or social distancing in photos and video clips of the ceremony, WMAQ reports. Social distancing and masks are the rule on campus; students must wear a mask even when jogging alone. A letter sent to students Friday said Jenkins now will enter an extended isolation. "My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home," he said. "The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for all of how vigilant we need to be."

After his Rose Garden appearance, where he shook hands with attendees, there were calls among students for Jenkins to resign for not following the protocols required for Notre Dame students. He also had been photographed in August in a crowd, per WSBT, though he had a mask on. "He's a repeat offender, and if he were a student, he would've been expelled," one student said. Jenkins then issued an apology. "I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so," he wrote Monday. "I especially regret my mistake in light of the sacrifices made on a daily basis by many, particularly our students, in adjusting their lives to observe our health protocols." Jenkins said in that letter that he'd been told at the White House it was safe to go maskless because everyone had just tested negative, but students pointed out he was photographed sitting with someone wearing a mask—the dean of Notre Dame's law school. (More coronavirus stories.)

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