The University of Notre Dame and University of North Carolina suspended athletic activities for at least one day after rising COVID-19 cases caused both schools to move to online-only instruction.
ESPN reported that Notre Dame canceled football practice Wednesday and possibly Thursday, while North Carolina released a Wednesday statement saying all athletic activities were suspended and campus recreation facilities closed until at least 5 p.m. Thursday.
"After consulting with our health experts and University leadership, we are taking this action to protect our students, coaches and staff,'' UNC director of athletics Bubba Cunningham said Wednesday. "We want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to ensure that that our teams, campus and community remain healthy.''
Both UNC and UND had resumed classes Aug. 10. UNC announced Monday that all undergraduate classes are moving online for the fall semester, and that 177 students are in isolation and 349 in quarantine.
The announcement suspending Notre Dame practice came one day after the university in Indiana suspended in-person classes for graduate students until Aug. 24 and undergraduate students until Sept. 2.
“With the advice and encouragement of Dr. Mark Fox of the St. Joseph County Health Department, we believe we can take steps short of sending students home for remote instruction, at least for the time being, while still protecting the health and safety of the campus community,” UND president reverend John I. Jenkins said Tuesday. “The virus is a formidable foe. For the past week, it has been winning. Let us as the Fighting Irish join together to contain it.”
According to ESPN, Notre Dame reported 82 new COVID-19 cases Monday and 72 Tuesday, bringing the total to 222 since Aug. 3.
Despite the rough start to the school year, both members of the Atlantic Coast Conference this fall are planning to move forward with sports in September.
North Carolina released a Monday statement on Twitter, saying, “Our student-athletes will continue to attend online classes, and may choose to remain in their current on- and off-campus residences. Workouts and practices will continue under the standards set by our University, health officials and department. We still are expecting to play this fall, as we will continue to evaluate the situation.”
Varsity athletic teams that are subject to routine surveillance testing may continue to gather for sanctioned activities according to established protocols and will be closely monitored,” Notre Dame’s announcement said.
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