Provost Miranda, VP and Associate Provost Carlson to Graduate Students: Spring Update #1

Author: John Slott

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

The dome of the Main Building
Main Building at sunset.

Dear Graduate Students,

January 21! The spring semester is almost upon us, even as many remain immersed in Winter Session work and studies. As we make final preparations for the return of all students to campus next week, we write to share with you a few important items. 

Campus Compact for Undergraduate and Professional Students 

Based on our fall experience, the University clarified and formalized expectations for undergraduate and professional student compliance with health and safety protocols in this Compact and an associated revision to the Student Code of Conduct, which were shared earlier today with those students. 

We are grateful to our graduate students among whom the incidence of COVID-19 remained very low throughout the fall semester thanks to your careful adherence to public health policies. 

Entry testing 

For your awareness, we are requiring all undergraduate and professional students to undergo testing as they return to campus. Details on these requirements can be found on the HERE website. 

Diagnostic testing 

Diagnostic testing continues to be available through the testing center located in the Joyce Center. More information can be found on the HERE website. 

Surveillance testing 

Surveillance testing is a critical strategy for identifying pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and for helping to control the spread of COVID-19 within our community. As you may know, we vastly expanded testing capacity and our underlying data systems during the fall semester. With this expanded capacity, we will: 

  • Mandatorily test the entire undergraduate and professional student population on a weekly basis. 
  • Test faculty, staff members, graduate students, and postdocs regularly working on campus once every two weeks 

Surveillance testing will start February 3. 

Signing up for surveillance testing 

As we are doing with faculty, staff members, and postdocs, we strongly encourage those of you who will be working on campus two or more days each week during the spring to be tested once every two weeks. Those who have experienced the saliva-testing process at the Joyce Center know it is easy, fast, and simple. The testing provides you, your close associates, and family members with some assurance that you are not carrying the virus. Starting at 8:00 a.m. Monday, January 25, you can schedule appointments for testing using this online calendaring tool. We are hopeful that scheduling tests in advance will prevent backups at the testing center. There are provisions to reschedule testing appointments when necessary, but we ask that you please try to keep your scheduled appointments. 

The COVID-19 Response Unit (CRU) will be you sending additional details about surveillance testing center procedures tomorrow. Should you have questions, please contact the CRU Hotline at 574-634-4373 (HERE) or by email at CRU staff members are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Concluding thoughts 

Even as we continue to battle COVID-19, we are encouraged by the good news about the increasing availability of effective vaccines and better treatments. For those of you who missed it during yesterday’s inaugural ceremonies, we recommend you watch this segment by a young poet-activist Amanda Gorman. Amanda is emblematic of the power we all have to inspire and effect positive change. We look forward to the change you will inspire and the light you will bring to our campus this spring. 

Please remember: 

  • Wear your mask 
  • Practice physical distancing 
  • Wash your hands frequently 
  • Complete your daily health check if you are coming to campus 
  • Keep your scheduled testing appointments 

Please be kind and generous – to one another and yourself. 

Yours in Notre Dame, 

Marie Lynn Miranda, Provost 

Laura Carlson, Dean, Graduate School