Denver Newsroom, May 19, 2020 / 23:47 pm
The University of Notre Dame announced this week that students will return to campus in the fall, with the semester starting two weeks earlier than usual and no fall break in order to complete the semester by Thanksgiving.
In addition to social distancing and mask requirements, the plan will include “comprehensive testing for COVID-19” and “enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces,” university president Father John Jenkins said in a May 18 announcement.
“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 said.
Teachers have been asked to prepare to offer their courses both in person and online, so that students who are sick or quarantined can continue to participate, he continued.
The university sent students home in mid-March amid the expanding pandemic to complete the spring semester online. Jenkins said the university had consulted with medical experts from the Cleveland Clinic and country health officials to develop the reopening plan.
Though Notre Dame is one of the first large universities to announce a reopening strategy for the fall, it is not the first Catholic university to do so.
Officials at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington D.C. are planning for in-person instruction in the fall, but have not yet announced whether there will be adjustments to the semester start or end dates.
Starting with a phased reintroduction of faculty and staff, the return to campus will include social distancing, testing, and cleaning, and other cautionary measures, President John Garvey said in a May 7 announcement.