Notre Dame became the second college this week to cancel in-person classes and move online because of a spike in coronavirus cases on campus.
During an address to students Tuesday, Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins said the spike was likely from off-campus gatherings in the last week, according to the school’s contact tracing efforts.
Every student at Notre Dame, roughly 12,000, was tested before they returned to campus to start class on August 10, and there were just 33 students who tested positive according to the school.
Just a week later, on Monday, of 927 students who were tested, 147 were positive for the coronavirus.
“For at least the next two weeks we will move undergraduate classes to remote instruction, close public spaces on campus, and restrict resident halls to residents only,” Rev. Jenkins told students.
Students living off-campus are urged to remain there and only allow roommates into their dwelling.
Rev. Jenkins also said student gatherings will be limited to only ten people. The previous limit when school started last week was 20 people.
“If these steps are not successful, we will have to send students home,” Rev. Jenkins said.
The University of North Carolina also announced this week they would be transitioning to remote learning following a spike in positive coronavirus tests on campus.
The university reported 129 confirmed COVID-19 cases last week, and a jump in its positivity rate from 2.8% to 13.6%. The university said it has tested 954 students with 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine. The university said that most of the infected students have mild symptoms.
Also on Tuesday, Michigan State University pushed back their start date and announced they will be doing remote learning as well. In a statement posted by MSU's president, the school did not cite a specific spike in their area, but rather what they are seeing at other institutions as they return to campus.
"It has become evident to me that, despite our best efforts and strong planning, it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus," the statement from President Samuel Stanley Jr., M.D., reads.
MSU will now start remote learning on September 2.