SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The University of Notre Dame has reinstated a mask requirement for all students, staff and campus visitors as the omicron variant fuels a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
As of Jan. 1, masks were required indoors for all students, staff and visitors to the South Bend campus. That requirement will continue until 90% of the campus community has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and also received a booster shot, school officials said.
During the fall semester, Notre Dame only required masks to be worn in certain locations and among visitors before booster vaccine shots became widely available.
Health officials have repeatedly said full vaccination and booster shots are the best defense against the new omicron variant.
The university is also requiring its students and employees to receive and verify the status of a booster vaccination by Jan. 21, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Notre Dame's spring semester classes begin Jan. 10. The university will have multiple vaccine clinics for students and employees looking to meet the Jan. 21 booster deadline.
“Our goal is to keep everyone in the campus and local communities as safe as possible, especially in the early weeks of the semester when cases of omicron are expected to peak,” school officials wrote in a Dec. 31 letter.
Notre Dame officials expect to lift the university’s masking requirement on Feb. 4. At that point, school officials said at least 90% of the campus community should be considered “fully protected."