A Message from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. – Vaccination Updates

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

Congratulations! We set an ambitious goal for the vaccination of students, and our students have achieved it. Among groups with the highest COVID infection rates, undergraduates and professional students, 90% have either been fully vaccinated or have received the first dose of a two-dose series. These percentages will allow us to move ahead with relaxing some campus health protocols, as previously announced.

On behalf of us all, I thank Governor Holcomb, the Indiana Department of Health, and our county health officials for sending us the vaccine and helping us with our vaccination site. I thank also the dedicated members of the Notre Dame staff and the nurses, emergency medical technicians, physician’s assistants, firefighters, police, and physicians who worked at the site. I extend a special thanks to the over 400 volunteers—students, faculty, and staff—who gave of their time to assist with the vaccination site and make the process efficient and welcoming for everyone. In my visits to the site, I found the cooperative, generous spirit of all involved simply inspiring. I cannot thank enough these members of our community, and all those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to respond to the challenges of COVID.

I also thank you, our students, who have been vaccinated at our campus site or provided confirmation of your off-campus vaccination. You have not only protected your own health, you have contributed to the health and safety of our campus, the local community, and your home communities. I extend my thanks as well to faculty and staff who have been vaccinated, whether at our on-campus site or in the local community.

Most students were vaccinated in the past eight days at our site and the vaccine takes some time to reach maximum effectiveness. We believe, however, that on our “mini-break” day, Wednesday, April 21, we can:

·       Allow student guests in designated residence hall 24-hour lounge
·       Raise the maximum number at informal gatherings outdoors from 10 to 25
·       Eliminate the requirement to wear masks outdoors on campus for gatherings of 25 or less
·       Reinstall basketball rims and volleyball nets

Details about changes to these protocols will follow in a separate communication from Mike Seamon and Erin Hoffmann Harding. All of our other health and safety protocols remain in place—masking indoors (including in the classroom) and carrying a mask at all times, whether indoors or outdoors; maintaining physical distancing; washing your hands, and completing the Daily Health Check.

We urge everyone who has received the first dose to receive the second as well. Once second vaccine doses are administered at our on-campus vaccination site, we will provide an update on reduced frequency for weekly surveillance testing and exit testing for those who are vaccinated. In the meantime, students should continue to report for testing when called.

In the coming days, we also will be able to announce some enhanced opportunities for graduating students as we move toward Senior Week and Commencement weekend.

Once again, thanks to everyone who made our campus vaccination such an extraordinary success. I am tremendously proud of the way our campus has responded to this challenging year, and we have much to celebrate. At the same time, I urge you to continue to exercise caution and continue to follow our health protocols. Let’s keep up the great work and continue to take care of ourselves and each other. 

In Notre Dame,
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.