Dear Holy Cross College community,
Congratulations! All of your diligence and focus on adhering to campus protocols, as well as doing what is needed to keep our community safe is paying off. Your participation in daily health checks, along with being mindful of physical distancing, wearing masks, and practicing good hygiene will keep our campus healthy and COVID-19 out of our backyard. I am totally confident that after these few weeks as a committed Holy Cross community, we can safely navigate the perils of COVID-19.
As of today, the College has had only 5 COVID-19 cases, with only one still active. As new cases arise, we will share this information via our website at www.hcc-nd.edu/return-to-campus. The number we report in campus updates represents all community members including students, faculty, and staff. A reminder, if you have been in contact with someone who tested positive, or suspect that you yourself have contracted the virus, students please contact the Student Health Services at (574) 239-1067 and faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider.
Even with the unfortunate surge of the virus that was experienced at Notre Dame, I believe that our College community can have a successful 2020-2021 school year. The exercise of your responsible behavior and care for the safety of all is evidence to me that we can succeed. If we stay the course we will overcome this difficult moment in our history with the same true grit and dedication that is so characteristic of the Holy Cross tradition.
Please know of my continued daily prayers as we continue to forge ahead to assist you in meeting your goals and your aspirations. Remember, we are a community of Scholars, Citizens, Leaders, and Disciples! We are the Saints!
Ave Crux! Spes Unica!
Rev. David T. Tyson, C.S.C.
Dear Holy Cross Students,
I am writing to you regarding our present situation and its impact on community life and our academic and social environment. The College has informed you that we have experienced two positive cases of COVID-19. As a result, some students are in quarantine due to contact tracing. At this point, we are in control of, and are containing, the situation. I again want to thank everyone for their diligence in adhering to the safety protocols. Keep up the good work! I would like to bring a matter of concern to your attention, one that I need to address.
In every human community, there are those members who choose to hold themselves above the norms and regulations of the common good. A community is NO community at all if it allows negligence and dangerous behaviors to be tolerated, thus impeding the work of the community, the progress of its members, and most of all, endangers their health, and their lives. As President of Holy Cross College, I share the common cause of the community, and share responsibility for the welfare of the College with those designated as officers of the College, and in concert with the Board of Trustees. At my inauguration as president, I promised to exercise a singular obligation not only to the governance of the College but the community, itself, by taking action when necessary to ensure, as far as possible, the welfare of the College both its participants and its operations. It is in fidelity to that promise that I write to you today.
In deliberation with the officers of the College, and in consultation with the leadership of the Board of Trustees, I am announcing the following Accountability Protocol, as an Emergency Protocol, which is effective immediately and until further notice.
Any student(s) that is found to have violated published or stated protocols of the College; or orders of the city of South Bend, St. Joseph County, or the State of Indiana; or has engaged in behaviors that blatantly threaten the health of the College community, either on the campus, or off the campus; or, tri-campus community, or the South Bend/Mishawaka community will be suspended from enrollment in the College. If an offending student requires quarantine, testing, or isolation, the suspension will take effect at the end of the period, and the suspended student will be removed from the campus. A suspended student will not be eligible for membership in the Holy Cross College community until the beginning of the academic year 2021-2022. The policies in place that govern tuition, room and board, and fee remission will apply.
Some might wonder if the above applies only to students. Established HR policies will govern alleged violations that involve faculty, staff and administration. We are a community that has various stakeholders that are not equal in their relationship to one another or bound by the same regulations. However, no one is exempt from scrutiny for intentional violations or personal interpretations of health and safety policies, especially in a pandemic.
It is my goal to remove obstacles from the path of the vast majority of Holy Cross students. Students who want to continue to learn, study, and grow in a distinctive intellectual environment and faith community. To tolerate a few irresponsible members bringing Holy Cross College to a standstill by their negligence and disregard for the community, itself, would in fact be the greatest of all negligences.
Please know of my daily prayers as we continue to forge ahead to meet your goals and your aspirations, and to do so keeping COVID-19 out of our backyard!
In Holy Cross,
I hope this message finds you all making the most of the summer months. Here at Holy Cross we continue to prepare campus for your arrival and the beginning of the Fall Semester on August 10th. We have missed your physical presence on campus, and we are truly excited to welcome you back.
Many of you have had the chance to watch Father Tyson’s video that was shared with the community earlier this week. As he mentioned, we continue to work with our tri-campus partners as well as local, state, and national health officials and we have developed a number of expectations, procedures, and protocols to help ensure a safe semester for everyone.
Reopening campus will require adaptations and sacrifices from all of us — students, faculty, and staff. The health and safety practices that are detailed here in this letter are designed to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 infection for all, and especially to avoid exposure for those among us who are most vulnerable to severe illness.
Holy Cross, like Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, is proceeding with caution with our return to campus, and beginning conservatively in terms of modifications to facilities, programs, and services. The safety of you, our faculty, and our staff is our top priority, and what scientists know about transmission of the virus continues to evolve. We will continually monitor the effectiveness and necessity of our protocols. We will add additional measures if needed based on the best available medical advice. On the other hand, if we can safely relax some guidelines over time, we will do so.
Thank you for your patience and your commitment to honoring these expectations, some of which will require us to adjust some of our usual Holy Cross expectations and campus way of life. However, just as drive-by events or virtual sing-alongs have emerged nationwide, I have every confidence you will bring creativity and ingenuity to the ways you connect with one another and make campus life vibrant. We are eager to collaborate with you to create these opportunities.
Prior to Returning to Campus
Before returning to campus, we ask everyone to have a COVID-19 test in the 10 days prior to your arrival. To make this simple, the College will provide the lab/test order from our Dr. Pearson. In the middle of July, those scheduled for early arrival will receive an email with directions on how and when to do this. Those arriving to campus over move-in weekend (August 7th – 9th) will receive an email with the lab/test order in the later part of July. Anyone who tests positive will stay home and self-isolate according to standard health timelines. The college will then approve a return to campus after isolation. We ask that ask everyone do their best to complete this test in your local community. This communication that you will receive via email that contains the actual lab/test order from Dr. Pearson will also include a link to the final copy of the Holy Cross College COVID-19 Health and Safety playbook. This playbook will provide a comprehensive and complete overview of all campus protocols, procedures, and expectations. In addition to the electronic version, a physical copy will be given to all students during Welcome Weekend. As with the Holy Cross Student Handbook, everyone will be expected to familiarize oneself with this playbook and abide by it in its entirety.
In addition to completing a COVID-19 test prior to arriving to campus, we ask everyone to be particularly attentive to physical distancing and health behaviors in the 2 weeks prior to coming to campus. You are joining the community of Holy Cross College—your community. Your efforts and the personal decisions about your activity that you will make to limit the possibility of infection are in some ways more important to the health of our campus than even the COVID-19 test itself. The job for all of us is to look out for one another. Be smart in the two weeks prior to the semester’s start. We ask that you consider reducing or even avoiding unnecessary activities and travel. You do not want to contract the virus, nor do you want to expose your friends, classmates, and roommates when you get here.
Returning to Campus and Welcoming New Students
Residence hall staff will arrive on campus beginning Thursday, July 30th for training. Other groups that have been approved for early arrival include ROTC members, SGA and Welcome Weekend Leaders, and returning soccer players. International students have received separate communication regarding travel and arrival.
New students have received information regarding Welcome Weekend and move-in appointments that will occur on either August 7th or August 8th. First year room assignments are currently planned for release by Friday, July 10.
Returning students living on campus will move in on Sunday August 9th.
Throughout the move-in process and the adjustment to on-campus living, personal behavior and decision making that limits the opportunity of infection will be of highest importance. Wearing masks and social distancing will be mandatory in all campus spaces, as it is also the requirement for the whole of the tri-campus and the larger local community of South Bend.
Living, Eating, and Praying in Community
Whether you live on campus or off, please continue to wash your hands or sanitize frequently, wear your mask when around others and practice physical distancing. These practices not only protect you, but they protect your peers, faculty, hall staff members, building services and dining hall staff, advisors, our South Bend and Mishawaka neighbors, and others from infection. They are also essential to minimize the number of people who would need to be quarantined in the case of infection. All students will receive a welcome back package that includes hand disinfectant, a thermometer, and at least two masks, though we also encourage you to bring extra supplies with you to campus.
Our residence halls will operate at standard occupancy, though significantly enhanced cleaning and other adjustments in our common life will be necessary to keep one another safe. Assigned roommates will be considered a “household” for purposes of contact tracing. Students will not need to wear masks when they are in their assigned rooms, but they must wear masks in all other rooms and common spaces, including hallways, lounges, and visiting other dormmates. Hall lounge capacities will be adjusted for physical distancing. Students may receive visitors in the residence halls, these guests must wear masks and observe physical distancing at all times and in all spaces. No guests may stay overnight in the halls. We believe if students follow these protocols the residence halls will be safe and healthy environments.
Notre Dame Campus Dining is adjusting dining hall and Ave Brew policies and offerings in accordance with best industry food service practices. In the dining hall, disposable ware will be used, self-service buffets will be replaced with individually portioned, served buffets, and other modifications to the space will be made to ensure that we can dine together safely. In addition, outdoor dining will be available near the dining hall and Grab and Go options will be available.
Gathering together as a faith community and nurturing the spiritual life of our students remains a crucial priority consonant with our Catholic mission. The St. Joseph Chapel will be open and will offer Mass and other liturgies and services and will operate consistent with diocesan guidelines. The College will offer liturgies open only to our campus community, while the Village Masses (Sunday morning Mass and 5:00 p.m. daily Mass) will not be open to students.
Nurturing Your Health and Well-Being
Our world has changed radically since March. Whether you are a new or returning student, you transitioned to some form of remote instruction. While you persevered admirably, this experience was isolating for many and a particular challenge for students who might have less resources available to them. Well over 100,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, with hundreds of thousands more around the world. The economic fallout of the pandemic has impacted the financial situation of many students’ families and created uncertainty related to summer work, internships, and future employment prospects. Additionally, we have recently been reminded of the terrible impact of racism in our country.
We already have a variety of services in place to nurture our students’ physical and emotional well-being, and we will further enhance them this fall. Every member of the Holy Cross community must complete a daily self-screen. The health and wellness staff will reach out to you if the results of your health screen indicate you should be assessed and tested for COVID-19. Although some aspects of testing are still being finalized, free on campus COVID-19 testing will take place.
With the modifications the College has made and dedicated adherence to our public health practices by students and all community members, we believe our campus will be as safe as any other environment. The risk of acquiring the virus on campus should be very low. Nonetheless, we are prepared to care for students if they become infected with COVID-19 and therefore need to be isolated. We will similarly support students who are considered close contacts of infected individuals and therefore need to be quarantined. Adhering to our health and safety practices especially regarding mask wearing and physical distancing, both on and off campus, is the best way you can minimize the risk that you will become infected or be considered a close contact of an infected individual.
Off-campus students will likely complete any necessary isolation or quarantine time in their homes. College staff will check in with these students daily and ensure the students have access to food and other essentials. Isolation rooms on campus and University Edge have been identified for any on-campus infected student. These students will also be checked on daily and will be provided food and other essentials. Additionally, any student in quarantine or isolation will receive academic support and have access to all coursework and instruction through virtual means. Finally, Holy Cross has strong partnerships with both local hospitals if a student’s illness becomes severe.
Holy Cross, in partnership with local public health officials, will perform contact tracing for any infected student. Our system is intended to allow contact tracers to thoroughly identify all high-risk or close contacts, conduct timely notification of contacts to prevent further transmission, ensure resources are available for appropriate medical evaluation of any contacts who are or become symptomatic, and ensure successful quarantine or isolation of contacts during the potential time frame when they may be infectious.
Enabling Student Formation Through Facilities and Programming
Given the adjusted timing of the semester and what we have learned about transmission of the virus, we encourage you and all student groups to utilize our outdoor grounds in safe ways as much as possible. Plans to increase useable outside space for eating, activities, and recreation are being undertaken at this time.
Student Activities, Campus Ministry, Hall Staff, and others that help provide campus programming are eager to meet with students for conversation, pastoral support, and program planning. All student clubs and organizations will have the opportunity to meet in person in accordance with appropriate College public health practices and amended student club and organization guidelines and protocols. Student groups may also choose to meet virtually. Attendance must be taken at all in-person meetings and events to allow for contact tracing if needed.
We are still developing our plans for the student activities that scientists believe hold significant risk for transmission, whether due to the nature of the activity, the proximity of individuals at those events, or the inevitable contact between individuals. Sadly, we do not anticipate permitting group vocal activities indoors, student dances, or many contact club or intramural sports. While these changes will present constraints, we look forward to working with you to imagine new ways to enrich our campus life.
Preparing You Well for Fall
We often speak of Holy Cross as a family and that our campus very much functions like a home for all of you. Other than essential travel, such as a family emergency, this semester you are asked to stay home at Holy Cross during the semester. Staying at Holy Cross and limiting interaction to within the tri-campus will support the common good and allow us all to remain healthy and safe. Staying home at Holy Cross and in the tri-campus may at times feel like a burden, but it will also be an opportunity to live and grow in such a way as never before, allowing a deeper sense of community and sense of commitment to those that make up this family of Saints.
This is a lot of information to digest, and I realize some items require significant and sometimes painful changes to ways we interacted on campus prior to the pandemic. I hope you will approach these modifications by remembering that they will allow us to be here safely on campus, a place where young men and women learn to be Scholars, Citizens, Leaders, and Disciples. We all have a role in the health and safety of our community and personal decisions to prioritize the common good must be at the heart of all that we do. Together, I know we can remain healthy, support each other during these challenging times and create new ways to build community.
Thank you in advance for your patience as we continue to finalize our preparations for your return. With a sincere sense of anticipation I await your return to us. Please know of my prayers for you and your loved ones and stay well this summer.
June 16, 2020
I hope this message finds you and your families healthy and enjoying the summer. As you all know, the first day of classes for the Fall Semester is August 10th. For those of you that will be living on campus, move-in will take place on Sunday, August 9th. Move-in can occur anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Approval will be required for anyone moving in before the 9th. An email must be sent to me requesting early arrival. In the email, please state the date that you would like to move-in as well as the reason. RAs, SGA members, soccer players, Welcome Weekend Crew Leaders, and Campus Ministry Spes Interns do not need to email me as your supervisors will communicate with me regarding your move-in.
In the near future, Father Tyson will address the whole college community to share how Holy Cross and our tri-campus partners at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are preparing for the Fall semester. Following that message and leading to your arrival, I will be sharing important information about campus protocols, expectations, and procedures that have been developed to help ensure the safety of our community. It will be more important than ever to realize that our community is bound together in an effort to live as Scholars, Citizens, Leaders, and Disciples and we will all have a part to play in the living out of our common mission.
I know I speak on behalf of so many when I say that I am looking forward to seeing you all in August!