Message on Reopening: Between the Fall and Spring Semesters

Author: John Slott

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

Main Quad Aerial

Dear Colleagues,

It is hard to believe that we are little more than five weeks away from the end of classes for the fall semester. We could not have made it this far without your many efforts and support, and we will continue to rely on your efforts as we work our way forward toward the Thanksgiving holiday.

Here is a brief update:

By the Numbers

Thanks to the continued diligence of our community members, our dashboard numbers remain relatively low and stable.

Relocation of the University Testing Site

As you may have read or heard, all COVID-19 testing has been moved indoors to the North dome of the Joyce Center in anticipation of cooler weather. Those being administered diagnostic tests should enter through Gate 3 at the northwest corner of the Joyce Center. Those arriving for surveillance testing should enter through Gate 2 on the west side of the Joyce Center, across from Corbett Family Hall and the Martin Media Center. Drive-up testing is available near the Gate 3 entrance via Moose Krause Circle. Operating hours remain the same: Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thank you to the many people who helped with the successful relocation of the testing sites during the past weekend.

Pay between Fall and Spring Semesters

For those of you who may have missed it Friday, Notre Dame affirmed its commitment to pay all full-time and part-time regular staff members regardless of whether they are scheduled to work during a period of reduced on-campus activities. Of course, most staff members will continue to support research, students, and other areas during this period, while also preparing for the spring semester.

Travel between Fall and Spring Semesters

With the end of fall classes in sight, the University is updating its travel policy and will post it later this week on a new webpage that will serve as an information hub for all things related to the break between semesters. Generally, the travel policy will ease current restrictions on University-funded travel between November 20, 2020, and January 27, 2021, and outline health and safety protocols for travelers. The Research Task Force plans to publish a separate addendum governing research-related travel. Guidelines for community engagement during the period between the holidays are also being reviewed and will be published in the near future.

Campus Visitors between Fall and Spring Semesters

The campus visitor policy also is being updated and will be posted on the new webpage later this week. Essentially, the policy will ease restrictions for some campus visitors, such as job candidates and small professional gatherings, between November 21, 2020 and February 2, 2021.

COVID-19 Screening for Departing Students

We know screening students for COVID-19 before they depart our campus for the holidays has been a concern for some of you. Earlier today, the President’s Reopening Advisory Committee approved a broad concept to offer an exit screening program as students depart from the South Bend area in November.

Planning for the Winter Session

In the past week, a number of faculty members and students have expressed interest in developing or taking part in academic, co-curricular, and career-development activities during the 10-week break between the fall and spring semesters. The general concept is to develop a portfolio of voluntary educational, service, and internship opportunities for students. This week, the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development will survey students to assess the volume and types of programs desired, and the Instructional Faculty Task Force will solicit proposals for short, mostly online courses, as well as online or in-person immersive research opportunities that faculty members would like to offer students during a three-week academic session in January. As always, we will continue to share additional information about these efforts as it becomes available. In the meantime, please send your comments and suggestions to

Closing Thoughts

In closing, we share this photo of Fr. Gerry Olinger’s newly arrived nephew, Liam. Photos of babies give us a serotonin rush. We figured everyone could use the same.


Please remember: 

  • Wear your mask
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Complete your daily health check
  • Show up when selected for surveillance testing

As mentioned in many of our previous messages, these are difficult times for many people, and we are exceedingly grateful for the efforts and grace you have shown while we work our way through this demanding semester. We will continue to rely on your dedication and support as we go forward. Now more so than ever, this is a time for us to be generous with one another. We choose to trust that the grace of God will help each of us to become stronger, wiser, and more humble as we battle COVID-19.

Yours in Notre Dame,

Marie Lynn Miranda, Provost

Shannon Cullinan, Executive Vice President