Adjustments to COVID-19 Protocols

Author: John Slott

Note: Dated communications are archived here for reference, but may not reflect the most up-to-date information available.

Dear Members of the Notre Dame Community, 

We hope you are staying safe amid this winter weather. Having promised to provide an update as we approach Feb. 4, the date campus will largely have achieved the full protection of the COVID boosters, we write to share some important information. 

First of all, we offer our profound thanks to each of you for your ongoing generosity and commitment to the well-being of our community. We are grateful that, working together, this community reached the goal of having 90 percent of students, faculty and staff both vaccinated and boosted, and we are inspired by the resilience, kindness and compassion we see you demonstrate each and every day. 

We are pleased to report that, among other factors, the impact of having such a highly vaccinated and boosted community can be seen in the case numbers. As you may know, the COVID dashboard is updated each Monday, reflecting the number of COVID cases for students, faculty and staff for the prior week. On Monday, January 31, the dashboard showed 126 new positive cases, down from 359 for the week of Jan. 24; last week, our positivity rate was 8.6 percent, down from 21 percent the previous week. 

This encouraging trend has continued this week. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, we saw a total of 25 cases, a positivity rate of 4.6 percent. In close partnership with public health experts, we are monitoring the data closely, but we believe we are seeing the same trend that has been observed nationally and globally—namely, a significant decline in cases after a surge fueled by the Omicron variant. Additionally, the fact that we are such a highly vaccinated and boosted community is further contributing to the decline in campus cases. 

After extensive consultation with public health experts, given our highly vaccinated and boosted campus community and the decline in cases, the campus will return to many of the protocols on masking, travel and gatherings that were in place during the 2021 Fall Semester, effective 5 p.m. on Friday, February 4, 2022. We have summarized these protocols below, and we ask that you review them carefully. You will also find the updated protocols on covid.nd.edu.

While we are encouraged on a number of fronts, it is important for all of us to remain vigilant and prepared to adapt. We ask you to continue to mask and follow health protocols whenever you are uncertain about the vaccination status of those around you, whether on campus or in the local community where approximately 56 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, and to seek medical attention promptly if you experience COVID-19 symptoms. 

Again, thank you for your partnership and cooperation. 

In Notre Dame,

Christine Maziar, Interim Provost

Shannon Cullinan, Executive Vice President

Fr. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C., Vice President for Student Affairs


Masks

Masking is not required indoors on campus, except in the following locations and circumstances:

  • In public buildings, and/or in settings where visitors are present. This includes indoor sporting and performing arts events, as well as some spaces where we cannot easily differentiate between members of the Notre Dame community and visitors; in such spaces, masks will be required (except when eating or drinking) of faculty, staff, and students regardless of vaccination/boosted status, when those spaces are generally open to the public. For a complete list of campus spaces/buildings where masking is required, please visit the University’s COVID website.
  • In any instructional or research space—classrooms, offices, labs or studios—where the faculty member or instructor requires masking;
  • If you are unvaccinated or not boosted. (Note: Those who are unvaccinated/ unboosted must also continue weekly surveillance testing.)
  • Members of the Notre Dame community are expected to carry a mask with them at all times, to wear their mask when instructed to do so, and to obey campus signage about masking. 
  • When shopping, dining or interacting in public settings off-campus or with those of unknown vaccination status, members of this community are strongly encouraged to wear their masks. 
  • Any member of this community who feels more comfortable wearing their mask in any setting should, of course, do so. Please treat the decisions each person makes about masking with the utmost respect, without making assumptions or asking questions. 

Gatherings

  • Gatherings for members of the campus community may include food and beverages.
  • There are some limits on gatherings involving visitors.
  • Read the full gatherings policy.

Travel

  • Similar to the fall, all University-sponsored travel, whether domestic or international, must be approved in advance by the appropriate administrator in order to be eligible for reimbursement. 
  • Subject to approval by the appropriate administrator as described above, University-sponsored group travel is permitted.
  • Read the full travel policy.