SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame has added security personnel at its COVID-19 quarantine and isolation sites after students were observed leaving the off-campus apartments and hotels in violation of safety protocols, officials said Wednesday.
Notre Dame provides secured rooms off-campus to isolate students who test positive for coronavirus and quarantine those who’ve had close contact with them or are awaiting test results.
University spokesman Dennis Brown told the South Bend Tribune that students under quarantine or isolation agreed to a code of conduct requiring them to remain in their designated rooms. Brown says the university has contracted with two security services to provide eight people to monitor the sites around the clock. He says students who don’t adhere to the code of conduct will face sanctions that could include dismissal.
In-person classes for Notre Dame’s 12,000 students began Aug. 10. Eight days into the semester the university moved classes online for two weeks after confirmed COVID-19 cases spiked. The university on Wednesday reported 496 cases.
Notre Dame has not released the locations where students are being quarantined or isolated, citing privacy concerns, nor is it revealing how many students are affected.
“It is ever-changing. People are added and then safe and healthy and able to leave, so we’re not going to try to keep track of that on a daily basis by any means.” Brown said.
St. Joseph County’s deputy health officer Dr. Mark Fox said he supports the university’s decision to not identify the locations where students are being quarantined. He says that could lead to someone being falsely identified as COVID-19 infected. As for informing residents that COVID-19 positive students are staying in their complexes, Fox said a number of factors come into play, including the layout of buildings.
“If people are truly and effectively isolating and quarantining, it doesn’t pose a risk to other occupants of the building.” he said.