NOTRE DAME, Ind.–The University of Notre Dame will bring students back to campus for the 2020-21 fall semester, but with plenty of coronavirus safety guidelines in place.
They will return August 10, which is two weeks earlier than originally scheduled. There will be no fall break and the semester will end before Thanksgiving.
“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” the University’s President Rev. John Jenkins wrote in letters to the campus community. “Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed. We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet.”
Jenkins says the plan will include comprehensive coronavirus testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and mask requirements, along with enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces. The protocols will continue throughout the semester as long as necessary.
“As we adapt to the new normal brought on by the coronavirus, we will do everything we can to provide you with a safe learning, research and working environment,” Jenkins wrote.
Faculty have been asked to prepare to offer courses both in person and through remote instruction.
The University’s Research Task Force will develop a plan for the safe and gradual re-opening of labs, studios, and libraries. Jenkins said in addition to that task force, two other groups of administrators, faculty, and staff are working on all aspects of the reopening of the campus.
-The Academic Continuity Working Group has made recommendations about the academic calendar, the modes of delivering instruction, and ensuring flexibility should circumstances change
-The Medical Health/Health/Operations Working Group is attending to the various steps needed to keep the campus health and safe for everyone.
“These groups have developed plans and are giving me the information I need to make decisions,” Jenkins wrote. “In addition, we have met with a Faculty Advisory Committee. I have discussed with this committee key recommendations of the working groups and shared with them my own thinking.”
Jenkins says Notre Dame International is developing criteria for deciding whether to proceed with study abroad programs in the fall. A decision on that is supposed to come in June.