Dear Notre Dame undergraduates,
Since writing to you only a week ago, the pace with which our world has changed due to COVID-19 is astounding and, at times, disconcerting. I am so proud of how you have responded to this challenge. Although your lives have changed dramatically, you have expressed understanding that Notre Dame prioritized the health and safety of our community, our nation, and our world.
I have also heard how deeply saddened you are by the loss of time here on campus or abroad. You are separated physically from people who you consider family – friends, hallmates, and classmates. Because I treasured my own time on campus as an undergraduate, I am heartbroken that public health recommendations necessitate this separation. Class of 2020, this situation impacts you in a particularly significant way. Please know everyone here at Notre Dame wishes you could be here.
With Fr. John’s announcement today that on-campus, in-person classes will be suspended through the end of the semester, I am writing with details regarding the closing of on-campus housing and how we plan to connect you with student services in the months ahead.
Residence Hall Closure
We realize this evolving situation has been both unsettling and inconvenient for students and families. We are committed to providing safe and reasonable options for closing the halls. I encourage you to forward this information to your parents, guardians, and loved ones.
· The 253 students currently living on campus should now return to their permanent residences as soon as possible. We want to avoid further travel restrictions that may impact your ability to reach home. Residence hall rectors will work with University offices such as Notre Dame International and the Office of Student Enrichment to assist with departure. We know the group staying on campus has unique and challenging circumstances, so we will work with you individually.
· To honor public health guidelines, please do not return to the residence halls until instructed. In addition to shipping essential course materials, the University is planning a move-out process for the more than 6,400 students who already returned home. Further details will be sent from the Office of Residential Life. We will utilize CDC guidelines to design the move-out process. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we balance the safety of our staff on campus with the retrieval of students’ personal items.
· The University will prorate room and/or board charges for the spring semester, and make the appropriate refund to your student account. More details will be sent by the Office of Student Accounts.
Connection and Support
In the days and weeks ahead, please reach out to friends, family, and the many on-campus offices that exist to serve you. You will soon begin receiving a Division of Student Affairs newsletter regarding virtual support, resources, programs, and extracurricular activities. We want to connect with you, we are here to talk if you need it, and we are open to ideas for how we can best support you from a distance.
Again, I am truly sorry for the ways this pandemic is impacting you. Thank you for continuing to build community with one another, good luck with your online classes, rest assured of our eagerness to support you, and – most of all – know of our prayers for you here under the Dome.
In Notre Dame,
Erin Hoffmann Harding
Vice President for Student Affairs