CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — The University of Notre Dame plans to phase in classroom learning again starting Wednesday, after a COVID-19 outbreak on campus when students returned to campus last month prompted the school to switch to online classes.
In-person classes for Notre Dame’s 12,000 students began Aug. 10, but eight days into the semester the university moved classes online for two weeks after a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
With coronavirus cases declining among students, it was safe to return to in-person classes, Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins said in a live-streamed address to students, faculty and staff.
“The virus dealt us a blow and we stumbled, but we steadied ourselves and now we move on,” he said.
During Aug. 20-25, the positivity rate of new cases was 6.3 percent, Jenkins said. Also, more than 1,200 surveillance tests on members of the campus community have been conducted with a less than 1 percent positivity rate, he said.
Students and staff still must wear masks, maintain physical distancing, wash hands and take other precautions, Jenkins said.
“We must do these things if we are to have a safe and successful semester on campus,” he said.
Earlier this week, Notre Dame added security personnel at its COVID-19 quarantine and isolation sites after students were observed leaving the off-campus apartments and hotels in violation of safety protocols, a university spokesman said.
Meantime, The Fighting Irish will take the field on Sept. 12 to kick off the football season, hosting Duke. While fans will be allowed in the stands, there will be COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, limiting capacity to no more than 20% of normal, or around 16,000 fans.
Tickets will be limited to family members of the players on both teams; as well as Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff.
The university is selling football tickets on a game-by-game basis. The Fighting Irish have six home games on the schedule this season, and they will be playing as part of the ACC. Notre Dame is normally independent for football.
Tailgating will not be allowed this season at Notre Dame.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)