With masks and testing, Notre Dame plans to reopen in August

University of Notre Dame officials announced Monday the school’s campus will reopen to students on Aug. 10, with social distancing, a mask requirement, testing and contact tracing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame president, said the university will open to students two weeks earlier than originally scheduled. He says there won’t be a fall break and the semester will end before Thanksgiving.

“Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed,” Jenkins said in a written statement. “We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet.”

In announcing plans to reopen, the university did not address plans for athletics programs, including the football season, The university says it consulted with experts on its faculty, infectious disease specialists and a team from the Cleveland Clinic before deciding to reopen.

As part of the plan to reopen, the university identified facilities to isolate students who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantine students who have been in close contact, said spokesman Paul Browne, adding details on those procedures will be announced in coming weeks.

Notre Dame’s students were sent home in mid-March to complete the 2019-20 spring semester online because of the pandemic. The university also canceled academic and other summer programming through July 6.

Jenkins said those cancellations will extend through the remainder of the summer, with exceptions for students whose summer work is preparing them for the fall semester.

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