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Notre Dame takes extra precautions before reopening this fall

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre dame  is reopening their doors to in-person classes this fall. But what will that look like?

Well, a normal walk through campus may look different next year.

Paul Browne, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at Notre Dame says you will most likely see more masks and posted signs reminding students and staff the safety expectations on campus.

“When the students get here, we’ll engage in widespread testing also in tracing, contact tracing if anybody tests positive. We also made arrangements to isolate any individuals who test positive,” he said.

Notre Dame reopens August 10th for in-person classes. Browne said their goal is to test every single student for the coronavirus and if someone is showing symptoms or has the virus they will be put into quarantine.

There will also be social distancing and mask requirements, although Browne isn’t sure if the masks will be required anywhere on campus or just inside buildings.

There will be more hand sanitizer stations and also a rigid cleaning process throughout the school premises.

Anyone who is affected by the virus or in quarantine also has the option of online learning.

Browne said school officials consulted with medical experts locally and nationally before making this decision and that it is what is best for their students.

“It really isn’t fully Notre Dame if the students aren’t back on campus engaged in various ways, intellectually spiritually and even athletically if that becomes possible too,” he said.

There will be a backup plan if coronavirus cases make a resurgence.

Notre Dame officials are already starting to work on a remote learning plan for if that happens.

However, what could this reopening mean for congregate settings like dorms?

Count doctors have warned us about congregating anywhere in the pandemic.

But Notre Dame officials tell ABC57 there will be added precautions put in place to minimize that risk.

“You’ll have marked areas, have spacing recommended to keep people separated more than they’re used to,” Browne said.“You will see markings that indicate spacing in various classrooms etc. We’ll be using space that we haven’t used before for classrooms to accommodate that distancing amongst students.”

Students will also be required to wear masks to class and those will be provided by the school.

But what about communal settings like dorms?

The university says they’re opening back up too.

“I think with testing and tracing we feel the dorm configuration – and we’ve met with county officials on this to get their advice. We feel we can safely reopen dorms. They will be subject to, obviously, before anyone comes back, thorough cleaning and periodically after that,” he said.

University officials say they’re confident the campus will be safe for students with all of those precautions in place.

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