Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins has outlined new COVID-19 testing regulations for Notre Dame students in the wake of the field storming after the Fighting Irish’s win over Clemson on Saturday night.
Jenkins — who tested positive for COVID-19 after he attended an event at the White House for Justice Amy Coney Barrett while he didn’t wear a mask — told students that they must follow stringent guidelines before they leave for Thanksgiving break following the field storming and subsequent parties after the 47-40 win over the then-No. 1 Tigers.
The school’s president wrote that it’s “very disappointing to see evidence of widespread disregard for our health protocols at many gatherings over the weekend” and outlined how Notre Dame students could be punished if they didn’t show up for COVID-19 testing before they left the South Bend area for break.
— Terry McFadden (@TMcFaddenWNDU) November 9, 2020
“Because we are now even more concerned about the potential for contagion in your home communities as you prepare to travel home at the end of the semester, the university will place a registration hold on the record of any student who fails to appear for testing when asked to do so. A registration hold would mean that you are unable to matriculate or register for classes next semester or receive a transcript. This is change from an earlier communication from Erin Hoffman Harding and Mike Seamon which stated that those who failed to appear would lose priority status for registration.
“Furthermore, you may not leave the South Bend area until you receive the results of your exit test. Again, should we discover that you have left the area, we will place a registration hold on your record.”
While Notre Dame should be applauded for telling students to take the coronavirus seriously after they gathered in groups on the field after the game and in parties in the hours afterward, Jenkins may not be the best messenger.
Jenkins was at the White House when President Donald Trump introduced Coney Barrett as his latest Supreme Court nominee. He was one of numerous people who tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the outdoor event without a mask on.
Jenkins later apologized for his “error” in not wearing a mask at the event.
“I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,” Jenkins said after his positive test. “I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so. I especially regret my mistake in light of the sacrifices made on a daily basis by many, particularly our students, in adjusting their lives to observe our health protocols.”
Given Jenkins’ leadership failure, Notre Dame should probably have chosen another person to deliver this message to students. It can be hard to take directives from people whose actions don’t match their words.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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