Provost Miranda and EVP Cullinan: Spring Update #4

Note: Dated communications are archived here for reference, but may not reflect the most up-to-date information available.

Dear Colleagues:

Despite the fact that we refer to this as the “spring semester” and refer to these emails as “spring messages,” we are really enjoying the beauty of our snow-covered campus. We are almost a week into classes. Thanks to all of you for getting us here—and especially this week, our landscape services and building services teams for their work in sub-freezing temperatures to keep campus walkways and building entrances free of snow and ice. Here is a brief update.

Adaptive testing begins this week

With pre-matriculation testing behind us and surveillance testing ongoing for the campus community, this week we will begin what we are calling “adaptive testing.” As was true last semester, our adaptive testing follows a Bayesian approach that adjusts whom we call in to test based on what the most recent data tell us regarding risk profiles across the community. This process will help us stay on top of any emerging COVID-19 clusters. Such groups might include, for example, a specific floor of a residence hall, a group of roommates who live off campus, or a group of staff members who work in close proximity. Our increased saliva-testing capacity and hard-working crews at and supporting the testing center make this possible. 

Surveillance testing for faculty, staff members, and graduate students

As a reminder, we strongly encourage faculty, staff, and graduate students who will be on campus two or more days each week to be tested every other week. By now, you should have scheduled a day of the week on which to be tested. If you’ve forgotten to do so, or forgotten the day you selected, you can easily find that info at this link. The saliva-testing process at the Joyce Center is fast, easy, and simple—and it provides you, your close associates, and family members with some assurance that you are not carrying the virus.

Also, prior to your scheduled testing day, you will receive an email from CRU with a link to a mobile testing pass. Those working at the testing center will ask to see your mobile testing pass and Notre Dame ID card to verify you are scheduled for testing that day. If you are unable to show the pass using a smartphone, you can tap your Notre Dame ID at the kiosk in the entrance area to verify your scheduled date. 

Updating your daily health check

Should you start feeling unwell or if your symptoms change during the day after you’ve submitted your daily health check, we encourage you to update it by visiting the Return to Campus Advisor homepage. Simply log in and click the check-in option to update and re-submit your information. This information is critical to helping us identify, analyze, and prevent the spread of the virus. 

Vaccination program update

In the past week, an average of 1.4 million doses of vaccine were administered per day in the United States. We remain hopeful that Notre Dame might become a vaccination administration site at some point in the future. In the meantime, we strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated as soon as they become eligible. There are currently eleven vaccination sites in St. Joseph County alone, and appointments are available for those who are currently eligible because of their age, or occupation, including first responders and those in a healthcare setting. According to the Indiana Vaccine Plan, those ages 60-64 will be the next group eligible as part of Phase 1-B. We will be watching this carefully and sharing information as it becomes available.  

Promoting well-being in the classroom and on campus

The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being team shared this resource guide. While intended for classroom instructors this information is equally useful to all of us. We encourage you to scan this document for tips that may help you and your co-workers lessen the stress and promote health and well-being this semester. Remember, when it comes to mental health and wellness, if you see something, say something—that is often all it takes to lift someone’s spirits on a tough day.  

Learning in a Winter Wonderland

As a way to make student life during the colder months more enjoyable, a winter lodge opened Saturday on South Quad, and another will open this week on North Quad. The response from students, parents, and on social media has been overwhelmingly positive. Like the outdoor Library and South Lawn gathering spaces, which will return in April, the lodges provide a place for students to safely gather and socialize.

Lodge 1600

Closing thoughts

The semester is off to a good start, but we know challenges lie ahead. Let’s all please take care of ourselves and one another as we work together for a successful semester. And please remember to be vigilant about these critical health and safety practices:

  • Wear your mask
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Complete your daily health
  • Keep your scheduled testing appointments

Yours in Notre Dame,

Marie Lynn Miranda, Provost

Shannon Cullinan, Executive Vice President