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Notre Dame moves all classes online amid coronavirus spike on campus

Notre Dame will shift all classes online for at least two weeks following a rise in COVID-19 cases across the campus community.

University President Rev. John Jenkins announced on Tuesday that since classes resumed on Aug. 10, 147 people have tested positive for the coronavirus from an examination administered to 927 people on Aug. 3, according to a press release.

"With the advice and encouragement of Dr. Mark Fox of the St. Joseph County Health Department, we believe we can take steps short of sending students home for remote instruction, at least for the time being, while still protecting the health and safety of the campus community," Jenkins said during a virtual meeting with students.

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The reverend said most cases were found in students and derived from off-campus gatherings where social distancing and mask-wearing were not observed.

He added that disciplinary action would be taken against those who repeatedly and outright ignore campus pandemic health and safety measures.

"Serious or persistent failure to comply with health protocols will be handled as a disciplinary matter for students," Jenkins said, adding that "depending on the nature of the incident, violations of our standards could jeopardize your presence in our campus community."

He asked students to report any behavior that is "flagrantly violating" safety protocols.

"If these steps are not successful, we will have to send students home as we did last spring," Jenkins added.

Notre Dame will also impose new measures, restricting student gatherings on- or off-campus to 10 people or fewer, and advising on-campus students to avoid leaving campus. 

Off-campus students are also advised to avoid campus at this time. Graduate students, faculty and staff may still access laboratories, libraries and core facilities.

The move follows the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announcing Monday the suspension of in-person undergraduate classes due to COVID-19 concerns.