Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame sets return to classes, campus for fall

May 18, 2020

Notre Dame on Monday announced plans to welcome students, faculty and staff back to its campus in full for the fall semester, while leaving open the possibility to bring back some limited numbers of students for second-session summer school in July.

In a letter from Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, the school announced that it would:

“A particular epidemiological challenge for college campuses arises when students leave for breaks, are exposed to infectious agents, and return to campus and possibly spread infections to others. To minimize this possibility, we plan to begin classes during the week of August 10, continue through without a fall break and conclude the semester before Thanksgiving. More details about the schedule for the fall semester will be forthcoming from the Registrar’s Office.

“We will, in addition to our testing, contact tracing, quarantining and preventative protocols for students, have parallel protocols for faculty and staff. We will be working on these and communicate them to you in the coming weeks.”

That modified schedule for the fall semester reflects a two-week advancement in the calendar, originally scheduled for classes to initiate on August 24-25, and it also eliminates the planned fall break that was set for October 17-25.

While saying the school was leaving open its options to return select groups for on-campus activities in second-session summer school, slated for early July, Father Jenkins added the following, “We are considering options that will allow the return of a very small number of students in July, mainly those whose summer work is preparatory for the fall semester. Limiting the numbers of this group will allow us to devote time, energy and resources to reopen in the fall. The Provost’s Office will communicate with relevant programs about their status for the summer.”

Notre Dame in the release did indicate plans to begin the “gradual” phased reopening of campus laboratories, studios and libraries in the coming weeks, with guidelines, and under the direction of a task force headed by Bob Bernhard.

The school indicated it hoped to decide on fall semester study abroad programs in June.

There was no official word on athletics and the return to campus of student-athletes in the release, though it has been indicated to Irish Sports Daily that a return to campus of some student-athletes, including football players, could occur in advance of the general campus reopening.

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