Community Engagement: Spring 2022 Guidelines

The University of Notre Dame continues to monitor the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local and state health officials to determine University operations during the Coronavirus pandemic. The University will maintain its previous guidance on community-engaged practices for spring semester 2022. In-person activities that are designed to promote learning and contribute to the common good—while maximizing safety for both campus and community partners—are allowable. Special permission for in-person community engagement is not 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 COVID.nd.edu regularly for updates.

In general, community engagement activities should be conducted with an understanding of the current COVID spread due to the Delta and Omicron variants, as well as the full vaccination rates (including booster shots) by age and/or population in our local area. In St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties, this means that while off-campus, Notre Dame students are 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 Spring, 2022 

To begin, participation in a campus engagement activity should be only be considered if one is feeling well and not experiencing symptoms affiliated with COVID-19 illness. Quarantine and Isolation guidance for those exposed to others who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, or who are experiencing symptoms themselves can be found here.

Even when healthy, protecting ourselves and each other is critical during this surge of the Omicron variant. It is incumbent upon campus stakeholders to do our part in maintaining a healthy and safe campus. As announced by the University’s Executive Officers in December, 2021, until 90 percent of the campus community has achieved the full protection of an approved booster, students, faculty, and staff, as well as all visitors to campus, will be expected to wear masks indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status, except when alone in private offices, or for students, in residence halls. Masking guidelines outlined by the CDC have been updated, and can be reviewed here. Please observe signage in campus facilities that indicates when and where masks are necessary.

Guests to campus for engagement activity must follow the University’s guidelines for visitors:

  • Visitors are welcome on campus, subject to any public health protocols in effect at the time of their visit. 
  • Visitors to campus are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated, and regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks inside campus buildings and at any other time designated by the University. Minors may participate in campus-based activities with a mask on, although events that include meals are not approved at this time. Masks are not required outdoors on campus.
  • University academic and administrative buildings remain accessible to visitors, subject to restrictions specific to particular buildings.
  • Visitors who are not Notre Dame students, faculty, or staff, are not permitted in the residence or dining halls.

Off-Campus Engagement with Community Partners, Spring, 2022

As stated above, safety is paramount for members of the Notre Dame family, our community partners, and other collaborators.  Please check covid.nd.edu 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 for Off-Campus Engagement

  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 campus volunteers the consequences for failure to comply with campus health protocols and agency requirements.
  3. Masks should be properly worn by all 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. ND volunteers should be aware of personal space and practice appropriate social distancing, even while properly masked inside the facilities of community partners.
  6. ND volunteers are encouraged to take a protective stance when engaged with community members who might be more vulnerable if exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
  7. Outdoor activities are encouraged, whenever possible, though masking is still encouraged around unvaccinated or otherwise vulnerable populations. 
  8. Extra caution should be exercised when meals are served by community partners; avoiding this activity (particularly shared dishes, buffets, etc.) in the current environment is advised.
  9. Student organizations should seek Student Affairs guidance for any additional requirements.
  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, Hope Hollocher, Jay Brandenberger, Jay Brockman and Jim Frabutt. The CECC is not a COVID decision-making body for the University, but you may send feedback on the document to caponigro.2@nd.edu or hholloch@nd.edu.  Revised 1.10.22.