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Notre Dame announced Thursday that five football players have tested positive for COVID-19 while six others are in quarantine through contract tracing protocols.
Amid a COVID-19 outbreak that followed the return of the general student population to campus in recent weeks, the Notre Dame football program conducted two rounds of testing this week — 232 tests in all. Five returned positive and those players have been placed in isolation, the school said.
Because of the rising number of positive tests on campus — up to 304 since Aug. 3 — Notre Dame canceled football practice on Thursday. Following another round of testing for players on Friday, the school’s medical staff will determine when the football team can safely return to practice.
Because of the rising number of cases among the student population, Notre Dame shifted from on-campus classes to remote learning until at least Sept. 2. That decision was made on Tuesday, Aug. 18, just eight days after classes resumed. The school said in a press release Tuesday that the cases were linked mainly to “seniors living off-campus” and “linked to off-campus gatherings where neither masks were worn nor physical distancing observed.”
“Our contact-tracing analysis indicates that most infections are coming from off-campus gatherings,” said Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins. “Students infected at those gatherings passed it on to others, who in turn have passed the virus on to others, resulting in the positive cases we have seen.”
Since the Notre Dame football program returned to campus in June, 851 tests have been administered to players with nine positive tests. Two of those positives came when the team initially reported to campus.
Notre Dame — playing this season as a member of the ACC — is scheduled to open its season at home against Duke on Sept. 12.
Two other ACC schools — North Carolina and North Carolina State — have switched to online classes this week. UNC, which saw at least four clusters of positive tests in its community, paused all athletic activities through 5 p.m. on Thursday.
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