Community Engagement: Fall 2021 Guidelines

The University of Notre Dame continues to monitor the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local and state health officials regarding University operations during the Coronavirus pandemic. For fall 2021, the University will shift its community engagement practices toward in-person activities that are designed to promote learning and contribute to the common good while maximizing safety for both campus and community partners. Permission for in-person engagement is no longer required by University leadership in the COVID-19 Medical/Health Sub-Committee and the Operations Reopening Committee, though these bodies may re-assert such authority at any time, so please visit regularly for updates.

In general, community engagement activities should be conducted with a full understanding of the vaccine rates by age and/or population in our local area. In St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties, this means that while off-campus, Notre Dame Students will be expected to wear masks in all indoor settings. As always, all on-campus and off-campus events with Minors should be conducted within the context of the University’s Protection of Children Policy. Safety measures, training, required waivers, and other resources can be found on the Protection of Children website.

For questions and permissions that may not be addressed in these guidelines, consult with leaders in your primary domain: faculty and staff within their units (department chairs, deans, directors) and students with residence hall directors or appropriate Student Affairs staff.

On-Campus Engagement Requirements for Fall, 2021 

For fully vaccinated Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students, masking is optional indoors on campus, including in residence halls except in spaces and times where visitors are commonly present. Due to the university’s inability to verify the vaccination status of those outside our highly vaccinated campus community, and our inability to easily differentiate between those who are immediate members of the Notre Dame community versus visitors, masks will be required (except when eating and drinking) of both vaccinated and unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students in some campus spaces during times when those spaces are generally open to the public. Please observe signage in these facilities that indicates when and where masks are necessary.

Visitors to campus, regardless of vaccination status, are expected to wear masks inside campus buildings (except when eating and drinking), again in an effort to help us protect our community. Minors can participate in campus-based activities with a mask on. Masks are not required outdoors on campus.

Every member of the Notre Dame community is expected to carry a mask at all times. It is the University’s stance that anyone who would prefer to wear a mask in any setting is welcome to do so. We should be kind and respectful of everyone in our community and of their choices at all times.

Off-Campus Engagement with Community Partners, Fall, 2021

Safety is paramount for Notre Dame community members, our community partners and student/staff/faculty members. Please check frequently for updates on current health practices and safety protocols related to off campus engagement. This website represents Notre Dame’s official guidance for the University community in response to the pandemic.

Planning with off campus Partners

  1. Prior to engagement, secure contact information with the partner’s leadership to facilitate rapid communication regarding possible COVID-19 exposure and subsequent steps to mitigate transmission of the virus.
  2. Prior to engagement, outline with partners and students the consequences for failure to comply with health protocols and agency requirements.
  3. Masks should be worn by Notre Dame participants engaged with partners off campus.
  4. Notre Dame students volunteering in an event or activity sponsored by a unit/club/dorm/center on campus must fill out this University Waiver before engaging with the community. Notre Dame students engaged as part of an academic course are not required to fill out a waiver. Waivers shall be maintained (physically or digitally) by the sponsoring unit for three years.
  5. Be aware of your personal space and conscious that some community partners may require social distancing even while masked inside their facilities.
  6. Be aware that older adults may want to avoid contact with Notre Dame students for safety purposes, even if masked. 
  7. Outdoor activities are encouraged, whenever possible, though masking is still encouraged around unvaccinated or otherwise vulnerable populations. 
  8. Use extra caution if planning any meals with community partners; avoiding this activity (particularly shared dishes, buffets, etc.) in the current environment is advised.
  9. Student organizations should observe Student Affairs guidance.
  10. Virtual options for engagement may still be an effective approach with certain partners, including activities such as:
    1. Pre-recorded content such as Fighting to Read, Fighting to Feed
    2. Live virtual tutoring / mentoring, such as TutorND, that observe Protection of Children protocols for virtual engagement.

This document was developed by the Steering Committee of the Community Engagement Coordinating Council: Jay Caponigro, Jay Brandenberger, Jay Brockman, Jim Frabutt, Hope Hollocher, and Bill Purcell. The CECC is not a COVID decision-making body for the University, but you may send feedback on the document to or Revised 8.19.21.