University of Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the university announced.
In an email sent to the campus community, university spokesman Paul J. Browne said Jenkins learned while self-quarantining this week that a colleague he is in regular contact with had tested positive for the virus.
“Jenkins was tested and found to be positive for COVID-19 too,” the message reads. “As a result, he is entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials.”
“My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home,” Jenkins said in a statement included in the message. “The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for all of how vigilant we need to be.”
Jenkins was at the White House on Saturday for President Trump’s event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, and was criticized by some for not wearing a mask at the event.
Notre Dame students drafted a petition after his appearance at the nomination ceremony calling for the president’s resignation.
The petition notes that the president’s actions at the event contradict the university’s covid-19 protocols, “as he was recorded shaking hands with several unmasked individuals and photographed sitting without a mask in close proximity to other attendees.”
Notre Dame’s website lists wearing a mask and physical distancing as “key responsibilities” required of the members of the school’s community.
“Jenkins’ public displays of disregard for public health directly contradict his commitment to the Notre Dame community, directly endanger the safety of students, faculty and staff, and also cast a negative light on the Notre Dame community as a whole, which has largely stepped up to the task of keeping one another safe,” reads the petition.
Jenkins published a letter this week expressing regret for not wearing a mask at the White House ceremony.
“I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,” he wrote. “I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.”