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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

Respect the house that Rockne built

With the success of last semester’s vaccination efforts at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross, our return this fall holds hope for a new school year in our tri-campus community.

Now that we’re all settled in, have our rooms set up, and started to learn the names of other people in our sections, heads can only turn to one thing: football.

However, as we get excited for the football season, data from our tri-campus and local community show that the pandemic is not over. Breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals are very possible. We find ourselves at another turning point, when our decisions will impact the rest of the semester and academic year.

If you are visiting campus during football season or are just unsure about masking guidelines, here are a few clarifications on current guidelines that we implore you to follow.

Masks are mandated for all visitors on campus — at least indoors and in other specified spaces.

“All temporary employees as well as contractors and family members of faculty and staff, and all other visitors to campus must wear masks indoors,” according to Provost Miranda’s first fall update.

You can see the reminders for this on signs in front of dorms, outside Hesburgh Library and by the LaFortune and Duncan Student Centers.

If you come across one of these signs on your visit, don’t ignore it just because you see others walking past you without a mask. This is our home — we are not visitors here. These signs are for visitors and are prominent and easy to locate.

Students in the library and student centers also need a mask when these spaces are open to the general public and visitors are commonly present. For a complete list of locations where masks are required for everyone, visit the Notre Dame COVID-19 website.

There are special rules for game days.

While you are on campus for a football game, be sure to follow the masking rules, regardless of your vaccination status.

Although the University announced on Friday they will not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to the stadium, Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick asked fans to “help us keep our community safe by being fully vaccinated prior to coming to Notre Dame Stadium and our area.”

While outdoors or in non-enclosed spaces, masks will be optional for vaccinated guests. This includes the stadium concourse, seating bowl and premium outdoor seating. Non-vaccinated guests are expected to wear masks for their entire visit to campus.

Regardless of vaccination status, Notre Dame will require masks indoors as outlined above. This includes indoor spaces like the bathrooms at Notre Dame Stadium and any University shuttles.

Additionally, to establish contactless operations, Notre Dame Stadium has gone both mobile and cashless. All tickets will be on mobile phones, so be sure to have those ready before you arrive. In addition, all concessions will accept credit or debit card payments only.

If you are coming to campus at a later date for a game, pay attention to changes in the rules. Gameday requirements will be updated on a weekly basis as the COVID-19 situation progresses.

Everyone still has a stake in how we finish the semester.

While professors at Notre Dame have the choice to require masks in their classrooms, vaccinated Notre Dame and Holy Cross students are not required to wear masks indoors. Saint Mary’s is requiring all students, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in classrooms until the end of September.

However, many professors have asked students to continue masking for the entire semester in order to protect themselves, their loved ones — such as immunocompromised family members and unvaccinated children — and the local community.

Even if you are vaccinated, please respect others around you who might still be concerned about the pandemic’s consequences on them or their loved ones. You might not know why someone chooses to wear a mask.

Regardless of where you attend classes, follow your professors’s guidelines so they and their families can experience some sense of security during this uncertain time.

Remember to also protect those on our tri-campus who work tirelessly to protect our own health and well-being — Campus Dining employees, building services staff and more. Their health should not be endangered.

While we hope everyone will hold themselves accountable, we at The Observer also ask the administration, campus ushers and other authority figures on campus to ensure that we as a community continue to uphold the standards we have set.

This is our home. We live here day in and day out, and we ask that you respect it and its rules so that we can have as close to a normal college experience as possible. We did our part in that. We gotvaccinated. We wear our masks in spaces where we are asked to and in classes that require it.

This may be your beloved alma mater or the future “best four years of your life,” but for the time being, this is our home. Allow these to be some of the best four years of our lives. Because the last two years, we’ve been 0-2 on a full college experience. Don’t make us 0-3.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.