Dear Members of the Notre Dame Community,
With the safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff as our top priority, the decision today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to raise the advisory against non-essential travel for Italy to Warning Level 3 due to an increasing spread of the novel coronavirus has prompted Notre Dame officials to make the difficult but necessary decision to end all programming at the Rome Global Gateway for the remainder of the semester.
The 106 Notre Dame students studying in Rome – 27 in the architecture program, one in law, and 78 in a wide array of other disciplines will be flown back to the United States as soon as possible. Affiliated faculty and staff who choose to return to the United States will also be flown back. The University is working closely with its travel agent to make reservations and other arrangements on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff. Those traveling will likely be subject to U.S. government health screening protocols upon arrival at major international airports in the United States, closest to their homes. Out of an abundance of caution, and consistent with protocols that have been followed for others returning from countries affected by the coronavirus, those returning will also be required to stay home for 14 days, then must receive clearance from a physician. More than half of this two-week timeframe will occur during the University’s spring break.
Further, local Notre Dame staff at the Rome Global Gateway will receive additional information separately about staffing plans, as will other University offices in affected countries. The University is indebted to them for their assistance to our students during this time.
Notre Dame faculty and staff have been working on meeting the curricular needs of each student, and it is believed that all will be able to complete their academic requirements as planned this semester. The University will be in contact with affected students with more details on arrangements for the balance of the semester.
Members of the Notre Dame Emergency Operations Center (EOC) – including health-care professionals and staff from campus safety, student affairs, Notre Dame International, human resources, and other units – have been meeting twice daily since the virus’ emergence to monitor its spread and evaluate its impact on all international study sites as well as operations on campus.
Notre Dame previously announced a ban on University-sponsored travel to China and South Korea and is now extending that prohibition to Italy.
The University continues to recommend against personal travel to China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan, and to monitor any additions to this list as the virus spreads. Travel and health advice is available in the February 26 message to the university community regarding novel coronavirus.
More information about COVID-19 and University policies is available on the websites for University Health Services, the Wellness Center, and Notre Dame International. Staff members in those offices are also available for questions and consultation. National resources include the CDC and U.S. State Department.
The students in the Rome programs will surely be disappointed that they are unable to finish the semester in Italy. Please be supportive in any interaction you have with them, and continue to be mindful of the many students, faculty, and staff who have family and friends in countries that have been most seriously affected by this global health threat.
The EOC will continue to closely monitor the evolution of the virus and provide updates when warranted.
In Notre Dame,
Erin Hoffmann Harding
Campus Safety and University Operations