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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – On Thursday, the president of Notre Dame released a video in which he warned of the growing COVID-19 cases and urged students to make a double effort to adhere to safety measures and conclusions. end the semester without having a “big stumble”.
On Saturday night, after the 47-40 double football team disappointed No. 1 Clemson, thousands of students flocked to the pitch to celebrate, jammed together and around the players and coaches. Some students can be seen on NBC television and in the photos are not masked or pulled down masked.
Criticism of the incident has been rampant on social media due to the pandemic and the number of cases has skyrocketed over the past few weeks. The Notre Dame operations on campus increased to the 200s after being adjusted at 26 about four weeks ago. The optics at the stadium in the trample / commemorative game begs answers.
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Notre Dame sporting director Jack Swarbrick, in a face-to-face interview with the Tribune on Sunday afternoon, provided a behind-the-scenes look at Notre Dame’s pregnancy plans for such a scenario where the throne The school will go from here in consequences and lessons learned from five home football matches have a limited fan base.
“We have all the measures in place for this game and the things we want to do, and I’m really happy with those plans,” said Swarbrick. “You have three possible outcomes. One is the hole. You hope that doesn’t happen, but you don’t have to deal with a field storm. One is a decisive win, and I think you can manage what happens.
“The other is a game, whether it’s a knockdown, two-point conversion against Miami or not complete in the final game of second extra time, it’s the one you know you have to face. with the challenge of a race.
“And you don’t know what kind of consequences you will face. You plan them all. … We have implemented a lot of additional security measures. “
Apparently, the game went to a dramatic final, in which the Irish won a nasty win, for the first time against the No. 1 team since 1993. At that point, Swarbrick explained, the Various safety problems appear as the students begin to increase. from the stands into the courtyard.
“If this happens,” said Swarbrick, “you get this massive mass, you have to let people come or else you’ll suffer fractures and other problems.”
The plan for that scenario is to try to protect the players on the field with additional security measures and user-ready for the game.
“In that context,” explained Swarbrick, “we said,“ Here’s what we have to do. We must protect Clemson and ensure that they do not interact with our students and allow them to leave the field. And I think that has been going very well. We have deployed security from the tunnel entrance for them all the way to their benches. They were so cool going in that stream and going over there. “
Another goal is to get the Notre Dame players off the pitch as soon as possible. Players have been warned to do so prior to a match in the event of a victory. Some have done so, others continue to celebrate with students longer than others.
“We have encouraged them.” “But emotionally we’re only somewhat successful with that,” Swarbrick said. Some immediately went to the tunnel. Others were drowned by the crowd, celebrating with them. “
St. County Medical Associate Officer Joseph, Dr. Mark Fox was one of the many people who took to Twitter after the match to express anxiety.
“Up for victory, but this is unsettling,” St. County medical assistant assistant. Joseph, Dr. Mark Fox, tweeted the response to pictures of the students on the field. “At least masked and all underclasses tested this week!”
Messages left by USA TODAY Sports requesting comment from the Atlantic Coast Conference were not immediately returned.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Notre Dame this season has limited seats at the games to 20% of capacity, with tickets sold only to students, faculty, staff, and players’ families. They have to follow a number of protocols, including wearing a mask and away from society. Students who test positive for the virus prior to the match are not allowed to participate.
The team also has strict testing procedures for the players and coaches.
More than 11,000 fans, mostly students, attended the match on Saturday.
“It was the first time I saw any university break into the field. It was a great experience, ”said Notre Dame running back to Kyren Williams after the game. “(Coach Brian Kelly) told us to get in after the game as quickly as possible.”
Kelly, as Swarbrick reiterated, confirmed during the post-match press conference that he warned his players that the fans would flock to the pitch, “and with COVID as of now, we have to come out. Get out of the yard and into the tunnel. “
Fighting Irish needed a two-week break early this season because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but that didn’t get them into this fight with the unbeaten Clemson.
Universities, like the South Bend region and much of the country, have seen a spike in COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions. Notre Dame reported 17 cases on Friday, with a total of 220 active cases. The university has reported a total of 1,345 positive cases since the beginning of the fall semester.
After starting the semester with live classes, the university in August went virtual for two weeks and required students to follow safety procedures.
Previously, the university had attributed the spike in COVID cases to off-campus parties.
Notre Dame conducted an on-campus supervisory check, closed most of the campuses to the public and required all students to undergo daily check-ups, among other safety measures.
University Principal, Rev. John Jenkins, was heavily criticized after he attended a White House ceremony in September, where President Trump introduced ND law professor Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court candidate.
Jenkins, like most people present at the event, did not wear a mask or social distance, and then he apologized. He was also positive for COVID-19 a week later.
Last Thursday, the Notre Dame Senate passed a resolution expressing “disappointment” about Jenkins’ actions at a White House event. In her video, Jenkins said the university would soon announce “next steps” to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“We have to realize that not wearing a mask or maintaining a distance is now significantly more at risk with the rapid proliferation of the virus compared to a few weeks ago,” he said in the video.
Swarbrick admits that the optics of Saturday’s play on the pitch following a historic victory will be the opposite of what the university has preached and practiced both on campus and off campus.
“We all conceded that last night’s game represented an exception,” he said. “We encouraged them to leave the field quickly. Not all of them can do it. We’ll see if that represents an increase and a difference in our testing experience next week. “
Contribution: Eric Hansen