“Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina abandon in-person classes after COVID cases grow — and outbreaks are happening at several other campuses.” — Marketwatch, 8/18/20

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Dear Valued Community Members,

I’m writing to announce the immediate, successful conclusion of Phase One of our Campus Comeback? initiative! Your hard work and dedication have resulted in a wonderful and memorable first week of the Fall semester. Now, thanks to your efforts, along with a sharp and completely unforeseeable spike in COVID-19 cases, we will be entering Campus Comeback? Phase Two, in which we will immediately convert to online-only learning and everyone on campus is ordered to shelter in place.

People said we were crazy when we announced that we’d be bringing our students, faculty, and staff back to campus in the Fall. I can’t tell you how many thoughtful messages of concern I received, because I asked my secretary to stop forwarding them to me after the first hundred or so. It was a difficult decision, but after lengthy consultations with some of the University’s foremost financial experts, we concluded that it would be not only safe but also healthier (in the spiritual and fiscal sense) to reopen campus.

They were right! We spent dozens of hours making our campus safe for reopening, and hundreds of thousands of dollars creating our Campus Comeback? publicity campaign. As a result, we succeeded in bringing back not only our students and their indelible spirit of curiosity, but also their parents’ non-refundable room and board payments. We made this decision because the on-campus experience is an irreplaceable one, something that cheaper, online-only alternatives could never replicate.

Now that our students are back, the leaves are starting to change, the checks have been deposited, and county officials have contacted me threatening to place a giant bubble around our campus like in The Simpsons Movie, it’s time for the next exciting chapter of this novel school year. Our renewed focus on the in-dorm aspects of the irreplaceable on-campus experience will last at least until we get a handle on these latest batches of positive tests. Please know that our dedication to our students’ wellbeing, like the price of tuition this semester, will remain unchanged.

Firstly, all students must remain in their dorms until further notice. Those who have contracted coronavirus or who believe they have been exposed are advised to proceed immediately to Roberts Hall, which will serve as our temporary Campus Comeback? Quarantine Zone until such time as the outbreak is under control, or it becomes necessary to convert the field house into a field hospital. All other students are advised to stay in their rooms and are requested, even more strongly than they were when they first arrived ten days ago, to refrain from partying, “hooking up,” and all other activities known to spread the virus. Classes will immediately move to Zoom, except for that one professor who insists upon Google Hangouts for some reason. You should receive a follow-up email explaining how we plan on feeding you no later than Friday.

To our valued professors, and also our adjuncts and TAs: a huge THANK YOU for all the work you did creating lesson plans, converting classrooms, and drafting last wills and testaments in anticipation of in-person classes. From the bottom of my heart, I deeply appreciate your service to our bottom line. My sources among the faculty tell me that many of you have been conducting hours-long, drunken airings of grievances against the administration via Zoom on a regular basis, so I’m sure you’ll make a seamless transition back into remote lecturing.

Finally, to our wonderful parents: I want to personally assure you that your child’s experience as an on-campus remote learner will be every bit as valuable, and even MORE unique, than the original on-campus experience. Students will now enjoy all the comforts of learning from a laptop without the distractions of classmates, the outdoors, or sexual activity. We’re confident that the activities that contributed to the appearance of dozens of new cases within the first week of Campus Comeback? will become a thing of the past now that our students fully appreciate how this global crisis impacts what kind of classes they sleep through. The important thing is that, although they are prohibited from leaving their buildings, they will continue to be a part of the on-campus community, with all the intangible benefits and automatic charges that the on-campus experience entails.

Here’s looking forward to Phase Two of what’s shaping up to be a killer semester! As always, my secretary’s email is open to anyone with concerns. Please note that, as part of Phase Two, I have suspended my office hours and entered a quarantine bubble consisting of myself, the Board, and the rest of our foosball league. I will reach out to you again with an update in the unthinkable event that we are forced to begin Campus Comeback? Phase Three.

Take good care!

— Your University President

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