Notre Dame College celebrated its students during a semester strained by COVID-19 concerns with a surprise day off from school.
The College alerted its students with an email around 6 a.m. on Wednesday, October 7, to its first Falcon Community Day. All on-campus and synchronous classes were cancelled. Faculty and staff as well as students were invited to connect in a series of engagement events, including a live, outdoor musical performance from Notre Dame President J. Michael Pressimone. Pressimone, a baritone, performed classics on guitar, including “The River” by Bruce Springsteen. He was accompanied by Gerald “Jerry” Hayes, director of the College’s Counseling Center, also on guitar. The experimental hip hop electro-industrial Cleveland band named after the city’s area code, 216, also was expected to perform.
While many other colleges and universities are remote this semester, Notre Dame has responded to the wishes of its students and continues to conduct courses and campus activities in person, while following social distancing and related health and safety guidelines.
“Falcon Community Day is a day for the campus community to focus on wellness and balance. It is a day with no classes, where students, faculty, and staff can come together without the stresses imposed on everyone during a typical weekday during the semester,” said Tera Johnson, dean of students at the College.
The day started with cider and donuts on the lawn and featured tie dying face masks, t-shirts and pillowcases; lawn games like cornhole and spike ball; and the opportunity to craft gift bags as part of a service project. Apples and grilled hotdogs were offered at lunch, along with the chance to interact with therapy dogs. Information tents provided details of resources provided by the College’s Counseling Center, Student Success Center and First Generation, or FirstGen, Center. Popcorn snacks were shared in the afternoon, and “cupcakes and canvas” art projects took place at dusk.
Students wearing masks, some featuring the Notre Dame Falcons logo, gave prayers of thanksgiving throughout the day.
“This day is about coming together as a community during this challenging time, recognizing that we can support one another,” Johnson said.
Faculty and staff were notified of the special event prior to Falcon Community Day but kept the secret from their students. The day was planned by Notre Dame’s COVID-19 committee with support of the College’s administrative cabinet.
Compliance with social distancing and other Ohio Department of Health guidelines was required during all Falcon Community Day programs. Students, faculty and staff are required to wear facial coverings in campus buildings at all times.
The typical College academic calendar calls for two days off in October for fall break, but this year Notre Dame has condensed its semester as part of COVID-19 protocols.
About Notre Dame College
For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.
Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.
Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.