Notre Dame orders COVID-19 tests for students after massive celebration of win over Clemson

Students at the University of Notre Dame will be subject to mandatory coronavirus tests and strict penalties as a result of thousands of fans storming the football field and partying to celebrate their victory over the Clemson University Tigers on Saturday.

The Associated Press reports that students will be required to take a coronavirus test before leaving South Bend, Ind. for the upcoming winter break or risk facing penalties.

University President Rev. John I. Jenkins said in an email to students on Sunday that it was “very disappointing to see evidence of widespread disregard for our health protocols at many gatherings over the weekend.”

In his email, Jenkins said he consulted with Dr. Mark Fox, deputy health officer for St. Joseph County, when deciding what actions to take in response to these events.

According to the email, students will be placed on a registration hold if they fail to appear for requested testing, heightening the penalty from a previous statement that said students would only lose their priority registration status.

Their registration will also be placed on hold if students are discovered to have left the South Bend area before receiving their test results.

The letter states there will be “zero tolerance” for gatherings that do not go in line with health and safety guidelines, regardless of whether or not they occur on campus. Sanctions will be placed against those who host such gatherings.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they will be required to self-isolate on campus for two weeks the AP reports.

Jenkins acknowledged that these new steps to ensure the health and safety of the school would likely impact some students’ plans, but said they were “critical for your health, as well as the health of our campus, our local community, and the communities to which you will travel for break.”

The AP notes that Jenkins has also been the subject of criticism due to appearing to disregard COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Jenkins was among the attendees at the Rose Garden ceremony announcing Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. That event has since been referred to as a “super-spreader event” by experts. Notre Dame’s Faculty Senate formally expressed disappointment in Jenkins in a resolution.

Jenkins later apologized for his actions saying in a letter to students and faculty, “I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden.” 

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