We are forging ahead with a plan of action that will keep our family safe, secure, and together once again this fall. In accordance with widely agreed upon research in the medical community, the College will implement robust testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine protocols to minimize risk.
Below is a message from Rev. Father David T. Tyson, C.S.C. regarding a return to campus.
The tabs below provide updates and useful information regarding the return to campus.
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!
We hope this message finds you healthy and well. When we announced that we were moving to distance learning on March 7th, never did we nor could we imagine how the following months would transpire nor the length of time that we would be apart. We know that the sudden transition required significant adjustments, flexibility, and herculean efforts to do your work in new ways, while worrying and caring for the health and safety of your loved ones. We did all of this while being physically separated and abiding by our stay at home order, knowing that our sacrifice was for the common good of all. Please know of our deep gratitude for all that you have done, and continue to do, to serve our community and fulfill our mission. We know that it was tremendously difficult, and we are in awe of the strength, grit, and tenacity of our community that was once again on display these past months.
Reopening campus and welcoming students back in August will require each of us to call upon the same characteristics: flexibility, tenacity, strength, grit. It will require adaptations and sacrifices from all of us – faculty, staff, and students. 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, and mask-wearing and physical distancing have become much more commonplace, we have every confidence you will bring creativity and ingenuity to the ways you teach, work, and connect to continue to foster an intellectual and residential community that forms Scholars, Citizens, Leaders, and Disciples.
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. This letter will provide an overview of those expectations. 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.
We thank the members of the reopening committee who have worked diligently to review information, provide input, and develop protocols. We write today to share with you updates on a number of ongoing efforts regarding communications, public health protocols, and policies and decisions that affect our work together. As always, we welcome your input and feedback. This letter is meant for both faculty and staff, and various parts will be more or less relevant for some of you – but we want to provide a full picture to all of you. We will publish the full guidelines and provide an electronic and hard copy to all faculty and staff.
Returning to Campus
While you are still welcome and encouraged to work from home, we are slowly starting to see you return to campus, and it is wonderful to be together again. As the dean of faculty, Dave Lutz, has already communicated, faculty are expected to return to campus August 3. Similarly, staff are expected to return to campus by August 3. However, due to many office setups for many administrative and operational functions of the College, some staff may be asked to work remotely on a part-time basis in order to reduce office density and protect the health and safety of the community. If this is an expectation for you, it will be communicated directly to you by your supervisor.
In addition starting July 6, when you come to campus the following will be expected of you:
Daily Health Checks
All faculty, staff, and students will be expected to perform a health check using an app procured by the College prior to coming to campus (or in the case of students, leaving their dorm room). This app will help the College keep a pulse on the health of the community and provide guidance to those not feeling well. It is anticipated that the app will roll out later in July. In the meantime, we ask that you perform a daily health check using the symptom guidelines set by the CDC, or one of the many free COVID-19 health screening apps available for smartphones. If you present with any symptoms, or just generally do not feel well, do not come to campus. Any faculty or staff who is presenting with symptoms while on campus will be asked to return home. This is not the time to “push through” symptoms.
Masks and Physical Distancing
It has been shown that physical distance and mask wearing both individually reduce the spread of the virus, and together are especially effective. When a distance of a minimum of six feet is not possible or when people are in an enclosed space for an extended period of time, a face covering is crucial.
In light of this, Holy Cross has adopted the following policies:
- All students, faculty, and staff in a College campus space will be expected to wear face coverings at all times when they are, or may be, in the presence of other individuals within a building, except when alone in a private room (office, residence hall room) or in a private vehicle.
- Students will be expected to cloth wear face coverings in all common areas of the residence halls, but not within their own room.
- Visitors to campus will be expected to wear face coverings at all times.
The College will be issuing all members of the Holy Cross community a minimum of two face masks. We also encourage you to purchase additional of your choosing.
The College will provide hand sanitizing stations at the main entrances of all buildings and in high-traffic common areas throughout campus. In addition, the facilities team will be cleaning highly trafficked areas and high-touch surfaces more frequently. The College has also purchased an electro-static sprayer that allows us to disinfect large spaces such as Ave Brew Cafe or Driscoll Lounge quickly and effectively. It will be used daily.
The College invites and encourages all faculty, staff, and students to be active participants in helping to keep our spaces disinfected. We will provide sanitizing wipes and sanitizing sprays in high traffic areas such as lounges, classrooms, and meeting rooms. Please feel free to use these to wipe down the space before and after use to help reduce the spread of the virus. We also encourage you to wipe down your own workspaces and offices frequently.
The College will also be moving to MERV-13 air filters for all of our buildings with a central HVAC system. These systems will also be set to maximize fresh air intake within the design limits of the equipment. This may mean that it takes additional energy to cool and heat our buildings, and we ask for your patience with the air temperature.
Protocols for classrooms and other instructional spaces
We have established a number of protocols that will govern classrooms and other instructional spaces:
- Facilities is adjusting each classroom to maximize social distancing between students, as well as between students and faculty. Some furniture may be removed, and the layout of a particular classroom may be sub-optimal for your preference.
- Six feet of social distance will not be possible in all classrooms, which is why facemasks are critical.
- Faculty will have the option of wearing a face mask or a face shield, which will be provided by the College.
- Faculty are encouraged to consider opening classroom windows and/or doors when practical to increase air flow.
- Cleaning protocols aimed at preventing COVID-19 will be implemented in all instructional spaces.
Physical Space Modifications
In addition to classrooms, facilities will be modifying communal spaces such as lounges and conference rooms where possible to encourage physical distancing. This may mean moving, removing, or exchanging furniture.
The College will install plastic sneeze guards in certain places such as reception desks or cash registers. In addition, the College will provide stand-alone, portable plastic sneeze guards that rest on desk for office and classroom use as an added measure of safety for any full-time faculty and staff who request them. In order to secure sufficient quantities, we ask that you submit a request for a sneeze guard to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday, July 8th. We will also provide portable sneeze guards that adjuncts may “check-out” for single or semester use.
Since it is harder to contract the virus outside, the College is also securing tents for the semester to provide outdoor meeting spaces. These tents may be used in variety of ways including for meetings, student activities, and dining.
For internal meetings, the meeting chair set a meeting be in person or virtual using MS Teams. Anyone who is working off campus should not come in for the meeting, but rather attend virtually. Masks or face coverings are to be worn during in person meetings. Given different on-campus schedules for the fall, it is recommended that meetings be scheduled rather than “drop-in” whenever possible.
Meetings with off-campus guests
We strongly encourage meetings with off campus guests be held virtually using MS Teams whenever possible and practicable. If it is not possible to hold the meeting virtually, all visitors to campus should complete a daily health check and must wear a mask. When practical, meetings could be held outside
Faculty Office Hours
Faculty with offices may hold office hours and meetings with students in their offices or via MS Teams. However, faculty who do not have offices must meet with students via MS Teams or if practicable, outside or another open area.
One of the hallmarks of Holy Cross is our dining hall and communal meals together as one community. In order to try to preserve this important aspect of campus life, 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, hours will be extended, and outdoor dining will be available near the dining hall and Grab and Go options will be available.
The College’s efforts to minimize COVID-19 infections and safeguard the health of the entire Holy Cross community depend on a package of measures and protocols. One important element of that package is to curtail travel to and from campus as much as possible, in order to lessen the introduction of new sources of infection. This is the primary reason for the significant adjustment to our academic calendar, with the fall semester now beginning with classes on August 10 and running straight through the completion of final exams by November 20. This is also the reason that College-related travel will be strictly limited throughout the fall 2020 semester. Only travel that is deemed essential will be approved. Before returning to campus after approved travel, those traveling may be required to quarantine in order to help safeguard our campus community.
Further, we are requesting and strongly urging that students, faculty and staff will avoid personal travel away from campus, their homes, or the local area during the fall 2020 semester except under exceptional circumstances (e.g., sick family member). Again, this expectation is based on our need to work together for the safety of the entire community.
One of the biggest adjustments for many of us this spring, and even this summer, was how we prayed and worshipped together. We are eager to be able to pray together once again as a community. However, this too will look different:
Starting at the beginning of the semester, 12:25pm daily mass and 7:30pm Sunday mass will be offered following all diocesan guidelines. However, we are limiting attendance at these masses to the College community. In order to protect their high risk population, the 5pm daily mass and Sunday morning mass is only available to residents of Holy Cross Village. Members of the College community should not attend them.
Testing and Contact Tracing
We are facilitating the testing of all students prior to their return to campus. We will also provide free on-campus testing for all students. A team of staff have agreed to be on the contact tracing and support team, which will be led by Tom DeHorn, and have already begun training. This team will work with and support students from their initial COVID-19 test through quarantine, and if needed, supported isolation. The College has a number of rooms available for isolation.
Any faculty and staff who have symptoms or have had close contact (15 minutes of contact with less than six feet of separation and no mask) with a person who has COVID-19 should contact their doctor to be tested, let Gwen DeMaegd know, and quarantine at home even if no symptoms are present. If any faculty or staff tests positive for COVID-19, report the positive test result to Gwen DeMaegd and remain isolated according to your doctor’s order and the CDC guidelines. The College will then begin contact tracing at the College as is deemed necessary and appropriate. The College will modify its sick leave policy through the end of at least 2020 so that any time taken for quarantine, isolation, or in support of a dependent family member in quarantine or isolation will be paid and time off will not count against the sick bank.
We know that this is a lot of information to digest. We also realize some items require significant and sometimes painful changes to ways we interacted on campus prior to the pandemic. We are hopeful that you will approach these changes the same way you approached the sudden changes of the spring, with vigor, tenacity, and grit, and all for the common good of our community. For many it is difficult, and can even be discouraging, to adjust to so many changes at once. Let us cling to Hope, knowing that these changes will not be for forever, but that they will allow us to be here on campus once again together, helping our students learn to be Scholars, Citizens, Leaders, and Disciples.
Let us end with our sincere thanks, and warm wishes for a safe and healthy long weekend.
Vice President for Finance
Here is a complete booklet of COVID-19 Protocols and Regulations.
It is the end of July and we are still forging ahead with our plan to return to campus this fall. We have put plans of action in place that will keep our community safe, secure, and together once again. With a commitment from our students, faculty and staff to follow specific guidelines and protocols this fall, I believe we will have a successful 2020-2021 school year and overcome this difficult moment in time with true grit and dedication to the Holy Cross tradition.
Starting August 3, all members of the College will receive a text to their cell phone daily and are required to complete the health assessment tasks asked in the communication. This health check will be used to assess the health of individuals and the community proactively. If it is your preference to receive this communication via email, please contact the IT department at email@example.com. Non-compliant members of the community will face accountability that will be discussed in future communications. A complete list of protocols can be found on our website at www.hcc-nd.edu/return-to-campus.
This daily health check, along with being mindful about physical distancing, wearing masks, and practicing good hygiene will keep our campus healthy and safe. The health and safety practices we have adopted 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.
Thank you for your patience and your commitment to honoring these expectations. Our College community is close knit and we pride ourselves on our commitment to hard work, diligence, and perseverance. By working together, I know we can remain healthy, support each other during these challenging times and create new ways to build community.
In Holy Cross,
Father David T. Tyson, C.S.C.