Provost Miranda and EVP Cullinan: Spring Update #6

Author: John Slott

Snow Aerial March2020 600x400

Dear Colleagues:

We are grateful to all those responsible for the testing program that is so essential to our efforts to be together as a community, as well as to those who are caring for the many students in isolation and quarantine. These staff members include drivers transporting students, those preparing and delivering meals to seven different locations, those supporting student welfare, and the custodial teams supporting quarantine and isolation efforts. We also appreciate the patience, compassion, and flexibility shown by faculty members toward those in isolation and quarantine. Here is a brief update. 

Those ages 60-64 now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations

Earlier today, the Indiana Department of Health expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 60 and above who reside in the state of Indiana. This is a change from prior state eligibility guidelines, which formerly included those who work in the state of Indiana. Individuals age 60 and above who work in Indiana, but do not live in Indiana are no longer eligible. If you have already received your first dose in Indiana based on your age, but live outside Indiana, you are still eligible to receive your second dose in Indiana. We strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated as soon as they become eligible. We will continue to follow vaccination program developments closely and share additional information as it becomes available.

Current cases

The current situation requires us to balance health and safety concerns with student mental health and the need for healthy social interaction. We will continue to adjust our plans as needed to balance these concerns. Case counts may be complicated by the incident at the Monterrey Bar this past weekend. Please be assured that we are actively investigating that incident, including potential violations of the Campus Compact.

March 2 mini-break

Among the lessons we learned during the fall semester was the need to provide students a few days off from classes to ease the pressure of our condensed academic calendar. We scheduled the first of two such mini-breaks for next Tuesday, March 2. The McDonald Center for Student Well-being developed a list of activities available for students to rest and recover. To actually get students to take a break, we are asking two things of instructors. First, please refrain from scheduling exams or projects that are due the day following the break. Second, please encourage your students to actually take a break, maybe catch up on sleep, and try to have some fun with this little bit of extra time.

Calm app eligibility

Earlier this week, the Office of Human Resources and OIT expanded use of the Calm sleep, meditation, and relaxation mobile app to all Notre Dame employees. The app is one of many tools and resources available to help lessen the stress students, faculty, and staff members may be feeling and to promote health and well-being this spring.

Closing thoughts

This week marks the sixth annual observance of Walk the Walk Week at Notre Dame, a time normally set aside on our campus to consider and reflect as a community on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and our individual roles and responsibilities in helping create a more just and equitable society. Due to COVID-19-related health and safety protocols this year, events that would normally provide an in-person opportunity to gather as a community have been replaced with a series of virtual events. We sincerely hope you will make time to attend some of these events, and more important, that you consider the moment we are in as a nation and a society and think about ways you can apply Dr. King’s lessons of peace and justice in your own lives.    

Please remember to be vigilant about these critical health and safety practices:

  • Wear your mask
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Complete your daily health
  • Keep your scheduled testing appointments

Know that you all are included in our daily prayers.

Yours in Notre Dame,

Marie Lynn Miranda, Provost

Shannon Cullinan, Executive Vice President