VP of Student Affairs Hoffmann Harding: letter to current Notre Dame students

Author: Amanda Skofstad

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

Dear Notre Dame students,

I write today to follow up on Father Jenkins’ announcement and provide guidance regarding the availability of student services and housing as we move to online learning through at least Monday, April 13. While I sincerely regret the disruption this decision will cause, please know your health and that of our broader campus community remains the University’s top priority. Every faculty and staff member will do all that we can to support the continuation of your education.

Medical Health

Because there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus by minimizing crowds, practicing social distancing (keep distance of six feet), and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. However, as a reminder, these everyday preventive actions can help you stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe each day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, remote controls, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Students who have traveled to any country rated as a CDC Level 3 travel advisory (currently China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy) are required to self-quarantine and self-monitor their temperature for 14 days before coming onto campus. Self-quarantine requirements would also apply to students who have traveled to any countries that transition to a CDC Level 3.

University Health Services (UHS) will maintain regular operating hours for on-campus or local students during this time period.  All students, whether on campus or at home, can call UHS for consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 574-631-7497.

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and especially if you have traveled to a CDC Level 3 travel advisory country or have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact your local health care provider or University Health Services (574-631-7497) by phone. Your provider may ask that you enter the health care facility via a specific entrance to avoid close contact with other patients in the waiting room. The health care provider will determine if further evaluation and testing may be necessary at that time.

If a health care provider determines that a test for COVID-19 is necessary for a student still residing on campus, the student will relocate to housing near campus and follow self-quarantine guidelines while results are in process. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will shift to self-isolation guidelines and be subject to monitoring by the local health department.

Available Student Services and Activities

While the University will remain open during the time period that classes will be conducted online, some adjustments to student life and the offices that support students will be made.

While most undergraduates will be away from campus, all students are strongly encouraged to continue engaging with the offices that serve them. If you are away from campus, please use technology (e.g., phone, email) as a first point of contact with student services offices to ensure that you reach them quickly. Most offices serving students will continue normal business hours. Any departments or facilities operating with reduced or extended hours will be posted on coronavirus.nd.edu.

All student extracurricular activities — including but not limited to  — travel, competitions, events, programs, performances, intramurals, meetings, etc., both on and off campus, are canceled through Monday, April 13. Decisions related to varsity athletics will be communicated by Athletics to impacted student-athletes.  

Student Care and Support

The University Counseling Center (UCC) will remain open for on-campus or local students for walk-in crisis care during regular business hours. Please remember that students who are exhibiting medical symptoms of COVID-19 should call University Health Services before coming to St. Liam Hall. All students, whether on campus or at home, can call the UCC helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to reach a counselor at 574-631-TALK.

Care and Wellness Consultants in the Center for Student Support and Care remain available to support students in need. Students who do not already work with a Care and Wellness Consultant and would like assistance getting connected with resources should contact 574-631-7833.

Campus Ministry’s Need to Talk program will continue with extended hours, with pastoral staff available both in-person and remotely.

Undergraduate Housing

All students (including those currently on campus for spring break) are encouraged to return home as soon as possible. Students who are already at home should remain at home, and those with travel plans to return to South Bend are encouraged to change them. Residence halls will close at noon ET on Tuesday, March 17. The Office of Residential Life will contact the small population of students who may be unable to return home and are approved to remain in the halls by Friday, March 13. While these students may stay on campus, they too will take their classes online. Students remaining on campus should also understand that programming on campus will be very limited.

Faculty should provide guidance to you about what books or course materials you may need, and the University stands ready to help you continue in your classes. You may request these essential course materials be shipped to your home address by filling out this form. Any students who are still local or on campus should only take what they need from their rooms at this point, including passports, identification, keys, course materials, and laptops.

Further guidance about Fall 2020 room picks will be sent by the Office of Residential Life. Clarification about any adjustments to room and board charges will be determined once the University communicates whether campus will return to in-person instruction on Monday, April 13.

North Dining Hall will be available for brunch and dinner service each day between Sunday, March 15 and Monday, April 13. A limited menu will be available, similar to the service provided during fall and spring breaks. The University will ensure a full sanitization of the entire dining room between each meal.

Fischer Graduate Residences

Fischer Graduate Residences will remain open, and all residents are permitted to remain at Fischer through the end of their leases.

In conclusion, I hope this information is a helpful start to guiding you through an unprecedented time for our campus community. Thank you for your patience, and especially for approaching this time with good will and a generosity of spirit as we work to support one another’s well-being.

Please feel free to share this letter with others, including parents, guardians, or loved ones. If you have further questions, I encourage you to submit a question or a concern on the University’s COVID-19 website.

I and many others at the University are keeping you in our prayers. May our campus, our nation, and our world work together to mitigate the impact of this virus.

In Notre Dame,

Erin Hoffmann Harding
Vice President for Student Affairs