The University of Notre Dame joined a growing list of universities that are requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to campus for classes in the fall.
In a letter posted on the university’s website, leaders of the school explained the reason for the change in health protocol, including details about the school’s new on-campus vaccination site that opened on April 8 for members of the Notre Dame community. The site was done through a partnership with the Indiana Department of Health, according to the announcement.
“While the site was established primarily for students, we believe that we have enough vaccine to accommodate any member of our campus community who seeks to be vaccinated,” the letter says. “We urge everyone who is not already vaccinated to sign up this week to receive the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with the goal of fully vaccinating as many members of our campus community as possible before the end of the spring semester.”
Noting how important a high rate of vaccination is for communities to be successful against COVID-19, the letter goes on to discuss the decision to require students to be vaccinated in order to come back to campus in the fall.
It explains, “Notre Dame will require all students – undergraduate, graduate, and professional – to be fully vaccinated as a condition of enrollment for the 2021–22 academic year,” adding that exemptions will be given for medical and religious reasons.
“We will also offer a way to be vaccinated for those who are unable to obtain a vaccination prior to arriving for the fall semester or whose vaccination is not recognized by the state of Indiana. For students currently on campus, if you have not yet been vaccinated, we strongly urge you to be vaccinated at our on-campus site in the days and weeks ahead,” it says.
The school also has a new resource for students to add their vaccination documentation to a site in order for the university to keep track of how many students have been vaccinated.
If 90% of the students are vaccinated with at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the school says that it can ease up on certain restrictions, including:
- Allow inter-hall visits in our residence hall common lounges
- 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
- Restore some outdoor recreational opportunities, such as basketball and volleyball
If 90% of the students become fully vaccinated, the school says it will take the following steps:
- Dispensing with weekly surveillance testing for those who have been fully vaccinated
- Not requiring those fully vaccinated to go through exit testing before leaving at the end of the semester
- Providing more outdoor activities for our graduates as we move toward Senior Week and Commencement weekend
The letter is signed by the president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Marie Lynn Miranda, the provost, and Shannon Cullinan, the executive vice president.