On Tuesday, the Notre Dame football team was permitted to continue practicing after the university began enforcing far more restrictive health and safety protocols across campus. Only one day later, Notre Dame decided to cease all activities.
According to a statement released by the university’s athletic department, the team will most likely remain at rest, awaiting news as the university is approaching the situation with caution.
Rather than continuing with usual practice with the goal of participating in the September 12th season opener against Duke, the voluntary pause gave university officials the chance to analyze and develop safety logistics.
Not the Season or Semester Anyone Expected… Or is it?
On Tuesday afternoon, Notre Dame’s president Reverend John I Jenkins announced the university would be moving all undergraduate classes from in-person to completely online for at least the next two weeks.
The university’s president included several new measures in his announcement, one being that students already housed on campus are required to stay on campus. Another stipulation is all students staying off-campus must remain off-campus until at least September 2. This is the case for many of their team’s football players this year.
Jenkins joined a live stream on Tuesday to discuss the university’s new plans to maintain their community’s health and safety. During the live stream, Jenkins revealed he was initially inclined to send students home immediately for the rest of the semester, not just for two weeks.
He claimed that after consulting with St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox, he decided two weeks of online learning would be sufficient. This was effective as of Wednesday.
Jenkins clarified that if the number of positive cases continues to grow or does not show significant improvement by September 2, he will revert to his original plan of sending students home for the entire semester.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
As of Wednesday, there were 73 new positive cases out of 355 tested students. Although this was a subtle drop from the 82 cases reported only one day prior, the positivity rate had increased as 420 individuals were tested on Tuesday.
Fall semester classes began at Notre Dame less than two weeks ago on August 10th, although students began moving back to campus on August 3rd. The positivity rate of positive cases has increased daily for eight days. Since August 3, 1,287 tests were given, and 222 came back positive.
In a press release statement, Notre Dame acknowledged they were overwhelmed and unequipped for the level of testing that needed to be done. They addressed the issue and claimed they are currently working on growing both their personnel and resources to better manage this life-threatening crisis.
As of August 12, the football team reported two positive test results since the return of students to campus. Since beginning voluntary workouts in June, the football team had a 0.64 positive rate, which is significantly lower than the current 17.2% positivity rate campus wide.
Only two other football student-athletes tested positive before campus welcomed back students. In total, four of the team’s players have tested positive.
Earlier for Notre Dame Football
Back on July 30th, the ACC announced that the Irish would join the conference for one season (due to the pandemic). Notre Dame will play one nonconference game of their choosing (if health guidelines allow) and then they will take on Florida State, Boston College, Pittsburgh, North Carolina as games not on the 2020 schedule. They already had Clemson and five other ACC games on the schedule.
This was done, in part, to maintain the wish of the athletic department and football program to remain and independent school and not be part of a conference on a regular basis in college football.