'Widespread disregard': Students blasted in letter over virus drama

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Notre Dame students, pictured here on the field after their win over Clemson.
John Jenkins slammed students after they stormed the field following Notre Dame's win over Clemson.

Notre Dame president John Jenkins has slammed the college’s students in an angry letter following scary scenes on campus over the weekend.

Thousands of students stormed the field after Notre Dame scored a shock upset victory over Clemson on Saturday - the No.1 ranked team in the country.

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It sparked concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, with social-distancing completely ignored and a number of students without masks.

On Monday it was announced that Notre Dame students are now subject to mandatory coronavirus testing with stricter penalties if they leave town before getting their test results.

All students are required to undergo coronavirus testing before they leave South Bend for the extended winter break, the Rev. Jenkins told students in an email letter sent on Sunday night.

Jenkins didn’t specifically reference the storming of the field, but rather “many gatherings” over the weekend.

“As exciting as last night’s victory against Clemson was, it was very disappointing to see evidence of widespread disregard of our health protocols at many gatherings over the weekend,” Jenkins said in his letter.

In addition to the game, numerous parties were held across campus.

John Jenkins, pictured here with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in 2019.
John Jenkins (L) with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in 2019. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

If a student is exposed or tests positive, they will be required to quarantine on campus for two weeks.

If students don’t complete the mandatory coronavirus test - or if they leave before they receive their test results - they will be prevented from registering for classes, university officials said.

The campus has also introduced a zero-tolerance rule for gatherings that do not follow safety guidelines.

Any student hosting a large gathering will face “severe sanctions.”

John Jenkins caught in own virus controversy

The celebrations came just two days after Jenkins released a video warning students about spikes in COVID-19 cases on campus and imploring them to redouble their efforts to follow safety measures.

Notre Dame reported 24 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, with 220 active cases overall.

The university has reported 1355 positive cases since the start of the fall semester.

Jenkins has come under criticism in recent weeks after he failed to wear a mask at a White House Rose Garden ceremony at which President Donald Trump introduced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the US Supreme Court.

Jenkins, who tested positive for COVID-19 days later, shook hands and sat shoulder-to-shoulder with others at the event.

Jenkins later apologised, admitting he had “failed to lead by example.”

Notre Dame’s Faculty Senate formally expressed disappointment in his actions in a resolution passed on Thursday.

With Associated Press

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