SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame is canceling in-person classes for nearly 12,000 undergraduate students for two weeks after a spike of coronavirus cases on campus, school officials said Tuesday.
In a statement, University President Rev. John Jenkins said the school has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases since the fall semester began on Aug. 10.
Jenkins said he decided against sending students home after consulting with health care experts, instead imposing restrictions on student activity, including limiting access to dormitories to residents and barring students from major gathering places on campus.
“It is very serious and we must take serious actions,” Jenkins said in an address to students and staff.
Jenkins said there has been a steady increase in coronavirus test positivity on the Notre Dame campus since Aug. 3, with 147 cases confirmed among 927 tested, which is about a 16 percent positivity rate over a two-week period.
Only one of the 147 cases was a staff member, according to Jenkins, with cases found mostly among seniors who live off-campus and traced to off-campus gatherings where neither masks nor physical distancing were observed.
The university said off-campus students should not return to campus and those living on campus should refrain from leaving and limit gatherings to 10 people or less.
Tuesday’s action by Notre Dame follows the decision by officials of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to switch to remote learning starting Wednesday.