COVID-19 updates for community partners

The Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced that the University of Notre Dame is suspending in-person classes beginning Monday, March 23 through the rest of the spring semester, to be replaced with virtual instruction and other alternative learning options. These actions are being taken due to ongoing national and global concerns surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak. The full announcement can be found at The University is continuing to monitor conditions related to the virus and will communicate any changes to this timeline as necessary. We will share relevant updates and new information with you as they become available.

The University is also requiring students who can to avoid campus during this time. As students return from spring break they are being asked to return home rather than return to campus. Residence halls will be closed during this time. In his message, Father Jenkins emphasized that there are currently no reported cases of Coronavirus at Notre Dame, and that these steps are being taken to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus.

We recognize that these decisions may have a direct effect on your programming as well. Many Notre Dame students spend a significant amount of time each year co-creating programs and resources with community partners. We celebrate the relationships you have created with our students and know that they will be missed by many during their absence. Please know that Notre Dame remains committed to supporting your organization and work. We look forward to our students resuming their efforts in person with you as soon as the University and health experts assure us it is safe to do so. For the time being, please consider ways in which you may be able to continue working with students at a distance. These may include:

  • Research projects that can be completed remotely, online.
  • Conducting conversations, training sessions, and workshops via video conference.
  • Writing, design, or other work that can be completed remotely and shared by email.
  • Assessment, evaluation, reflections, and feedback via phone or web-based services.
  • Creating digital and other social media content, print program materials, or other methods for information-sharing.
  • Conducting virtual or phone-based educational supports (where possible) for youth and adults.

If you choose to work with students remotely during this time, please be sure to coordinate these efforts with any relevant faculty member(s). Next week, Notre Dame faculty will receive instruction on how to continue their courses through distance learning and will learn about how to use digital tools such as Zoom video conferencing that students can access to facilitate their work with you.

We also recognize that many community organizations connect with Notre Dame students in a variety of ways and through a range of programs. With that in mind, please note the following about how to most effectively communicate with students concerning changes to their work, timelines, and other expectations.

  • Student projects and work that are part of a community-based learning (CBL) course should be coordinated through the relevant course instructor.
  • Student projects and work that are part of a Notre Dame program, office, or research lab and not a course should be coordinated through the relevant supervisor or advisor. This includes volunteer programs such as Mercy Works.
  • Student experiences that are part of a student organization or residence hall activity should be coordinated through the relevant student leaders whenever possible. When it is not possible to do so, please coordinate directly with the relevant students.
  • All other student experiences during this time should be coordinated directly with the relevant students.

If you are unsure who to contact or are having difficulty connecting with any of these individuals, please contact Dave Lassen ( at the Center for Social Concerns.

Please know that the Center for Social Concerns will continue to be available to you as a resource during this time. Feel free to contact us with any questions. We look forward to navigating this unique historical moment with you. If you are interested in additional resources related to your organization’s general response to the Coronavirus outbreak, consider the recommendations posted on the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration website.

Thank you for the work that you do in South Bend and beyond. Moments of uncertainty such as these remind us all of the irreplaceable value of your leadership and dedication in this community.

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