The University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins announced Monday that the school will no longer host the first 2020 presidential debate, according to a university news release.
The debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, will now be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, according to debates.org.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) today stated that the University of Notre Dame has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020. CPD is pleased to announce that the first presidential debate will be co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic and held at the Health Education Campus (HEC) in Cleveland, OH,” the website read.
The decision comes after consultation with the St. Joseph’s County deputy health officials, as well as unanimous support received by the Executive Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees, the news release from Notre Dame stated.
Jenkins said he made the “difficult decision because the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”
In a letter sent out to the Notre Dame community, Jenkins stated that “the inevitable reduction in student attendance in the debate hall, volunteer opportunities and ancillary educational events undermined the primary benefit of hosting — to provide our students with a meaningful opportunity to engage in the American political process,” according to the news release.
“I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding. But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw,” Jenkins continued in his statement.
Jenkins concluded his statement by encouraging everyone to vote on Nov. 3.
The event would have also been the university’s first presidential debate, the news release said.
The state of Indiana had a total of 62,907 positive COVID-19 cases as of July 27, according to state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s face covering mandate went into effect on Monday in response to Indiana crossing the threshold of more than 1,000 new cases in a single day for the first time on July 23.
The mandate requires all citizens eight years and older to wear a face covering while inside businesses and public buildings.
However, this mandate does not extend to private workspaces or private meetings where six feet of social distancing can be achieved, the mandates states.
The mandate also does not extend to children two years and younger or people with underlying medical conditions which does not permit the use of a face covering, as well as a number of other exceptions.