147 people tested positive for the virus since classes resumed on Aug. 10

By Georgia Slater
August 19, 2020 11:05 AM
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Credit: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The University of Notre Dame has announced it will be halting in-person classes after seeing a surge in coronavirus cases just eight days after beginning its fall semester.

On Tuesday, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins shared that beginning Wednesday, all in-person classes for the University's undergraduate students are suspended until Sept. 2 and graduate students until Aug. 24, according to a press release.

The school's 12,000 students will instead report to remote instruction as the positive cases on campus continue to rise.

“The virus is a formidable foe,” Jenkins said in the release. “For the past week, it has been winning. Let us as the Fighting Irish join together to contain it.”

As of Tuesday, 147 people — all but one being students — tested positive for the virus among the 927 tested since Aug. 3.

The announcement noted that most of the positive cases were students who live off-campus and attended gatherings where people did not wear masks or abide by social distancing guidelines.

“Our contact-tracing analysis indicates that most infections are coming from off-campus gatherings,” Jenkins said. “Students infected at those gatherings passed it on to others, who in turn have passed the virus on to others, resulting in the positive cases we have seen.”

The school is now mandating that everyone wear masks on campus "at all times and in all places (outside and inside)" aside from assigned resident hall rooms, the school shared in an updated release.

All clubs and organizations are to meet remotely and socially distant gatherings can be up to 10 people.

"For your sake and the sake of our community and for continuing our semester on campus, please observe health protocols and avoid behavior that puts yourself or others at risk,” Jenkins added.

News of Notre Dame's suspensions come as several other colleges and universities around the country are making similar announcements.

On Monday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced it will be shifting to remote learning after 130 students tested positive in its first week of in-person classes.

The following day, Michigan State University asked all students to stay home for the fall semester "effective immediately."

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