Notre Dame to return to In-Person Classes starting September 2nd
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - It's been two weeks since Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins announced classes would be moving to online only after an outbreak of COVID- 19 among the student population. Friday Father Jenkins announced numbers are more under control and campus is to a point where students can return to in-person classes. The university will do so starting on Wednesday September 2nd and will get on-campus activity up and running again in stages.
"We can plan to return to in-person classes and return in stages to the level of activity we had before the pause," Jenkins said in a virtual announcement.
Notre Dame doctoral student, Isaac Kimmel, said the university has an opportunity in re-opening now.
"It looks like we've gotten things back under control, and that's really encouraging," Kimmel said. "I think Notre Dame has the opportunity to really give the rest of the country a lot of hope that we can have some normalcy as long as we just use common sense and wear masks and social distance."
Father John Jenkins said the university kept track of numbers among the population and said they had arrived at a point where in-person classes are a safe option once again.
"Since my announcement (to move classes all online), the daily number of new cases has gone down substantially." Father Jenkins said. "The positivity rate, that is the ratio of the number of positive tests to the total number of tests, is still high at 10.8%, but it is declining, and from August 20 to 25 was 6.3%."
Kimmel said moving classes back to in-person bodes well for Notre Dame education.
"I don't TA (teacher's assistant), but a lot of my friends who do say it makes a massive difference when they don't have to use Zoom," Kimmel said.
Kimmel also said on-campus atmosphere is not where the danger is for students.
"It's not surprising that a bunch of college students came together and were really excited to see each other and got back together off campus to spend time together and have fun, but we can't do that right now, and I think that's what the problem is," Kimmel said.
Kimmel went on to say that having fun is important, but doing so safely is essential.
"Well, the weather's still nice," Kimmel said. "It's objectively, measurably safer to spend time together outside in smaller groups and be sensible with alcohol."
Businesses at Eddy Street Commons said they are thrilled for students to head back to campus because they believe that will keep the area from being a "ghost town" as they've called it lately.