Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
We hope this week finds you catching your breath a bit after the busyness of the end of the academic year and the joyful celebrations of Commencement this past weekend. As we interacted with our graduates and their loved ones over the weekend, we heard so many speak in such positive terms of their experiences this year. Of course, the credit for our students’ good year goes to you, our faculty and staff colleagues. Thank you for all you did this year to make it possible for the University to offer an in-person experience to our students. Your dedication to Notre Dame and to our students during this challenging time is truly inspiring.
We write to you today to share next steps as we look ahead to the summer and fall terms. As you may know, we plan to offer, as we typically do, a limited number of students an in-person residential and instructional experience during the summer months. For the fall, we hope to once again have all of our students on campus.
At this point, we are optimistic that by Fall 2021, we can offer a student experience that is much closer to “normal” than we were able to offer during academic year 2020-2021. We are encouraged by national and regional vaccination trends, as well as the fact that 90% of our students were fully vaccinated this spring. We are already seeing the beneficial impact of vaccination as our positivity rates have fallen to 0%, and we have not had a positive case since May 7.
Given these encouraging developments and in consultation with local public health officials, we believe it is an appropriate time for those who have been working remotely due to the pandemic to begin the transition back to campus, with the goal of a full return to campus no later than Monday, August 2.
The cadence of the return to campus will vary by unit or department. Each college, school, and division will work to formulate a return to campus plan in consultation with its faculty and staff. For some departments, the summer is a critical period, which may necessitate a return to campus in the next few weeks. For others, a return to campus may occur later in June or in July. Rather than a “one-size-fits-all approach”, the college and division plans will allow each area to work toward a return at an appropriate pace. Your units are beginning to develop relevant plans and you should expect to hear more from them directly in the coming days.
At the same time, we know that the experience of working remotely has surfaced some important questions about the place of hybrid work (in person and remote) for staff at Notre Dame. We have assigned a cross-functional team the task of looking more closely at some of these questions. That team is consulting with units across campus. We hope to have more information to share about the recommendations of that team in the coming weeks.
Of course, the health and safety of every member of the campus community and of our families and neighbors in the local community are our top priority. As you know, we recently announced a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for faculty and staff, similar to the requirement for students. If you have not already done so, please get vaccinated as soon as possible and upload your vaccination information. To find a convenient vaccination site in Indiana, please visit the state’s vaccine information page. Michigan residents can likewise find a vaccination site at their state’s vaccine information page. Information on how to upload your documentation can be found on the HERE website.
If you plan to apply for a vaccine exemption, please complete this form. All exemption applications must be submitted no later than June 18, 2021. The Office of Institutional Equity will oversee this review process and notify applicants of decisions in a timely manner.
The Office of Human Resources has prepared some frequently asked questions regarding the return to campus. Your managers are available to discuss any questions you might have about the return to campus process. You may also reach out to the askHR customer service center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 631-5900 with questions.
Again, thank you for your extraordinary commitment to our students and to Notre Dame. You made so many wonderful moments, like the one below, possible.
This has been a year like no other, and we hope the summer brings you some time for rest and relaxation in the company of your loved ones. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.
In Notre Dame,
Marie Lynn Miranda, Provost
Shannon Cullinan, Executive Vice President