Origin of epidemic traced to open-air darty at Legacy Village
With an exponential increase in conjunctivitis cases nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that Americans wear eye patches to slow the spread of the highly contagious disease. Following the CDC’s recommendation, the University of Notre Dame announced that patches would be mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff. The university policy has elicited mixed reactions from the campus community.
The Office of the Provost sent an email to faculty, staff, and students explaining the rationale behind the university’s policy. “While some may see the patch requirement as arbitrary, we have conducted extensive scientific and medical research to determine the best course of action for our university community,” the email says. “All members of the Notre Dame community are required to wear an eye-patch until this disease is eradicated. Per CDC guidance, patches can be worn over either the left or the right eye.”
“Pinkeye is a formidable foe. And right now, it’s winning,” university president Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C. announced to the campus community via live broadcast. The rest of Jenkins’s remarks were garbled, as he struggled to read the teleprompter with one eye covered.
While CDC guidelines state that one patch is sufficient, many conscientious individuals “double-patch” in order to prevent the contraction of conjunctivitis in either eye.
Freshman Andrew Gardiner said that double-patching has made it difficult to adjust to college life. “I still haven’t actually seen the Golden Dome,” he said. “But as a member of the Notre Dame community, I think I owe it to everyone HERE™ to keep both eyes patched.”
“I’m not wearing eye patches for my own health,” Gardiner explained, “I just want to keep other people from catching pinkeye from me.”
Increasingly, however, double-patching is not just an individual choice. Junior Jackie Lawrence changed her major after the Program of Liberal Studies became the only major to issue a department-wide double-patch mandate for all classes. Lawrence, who took AP Statistics in high school, argued that the department’s mandate lacks sufficient basis in scientific evidence: “They were holding the graph sideways,” she said.
Double-patching has occurred outside the classroom as well. The Office of Admissions has amended their health protocols to require double-patching by all visitors to campus. At first, campus tours for prospective students remained in their pre-pinkeye state, but the office soon recognized that change was necessary.
“Double-patched tours were chaos,” tour guide Amaya Pearson said. “When we were on library quad, one prospie tripped and fell face-first into the reflecting pool. He could have drowned.”
The adapted tour is short and simple: double-patched visitors are led to the middle of South Quad and left to feel the west wind whip down the longest stretch of uninterrupted greenspace on an American college campus, pierce through every layer of clothing, and chill them to the bone, before being led the the Duncan Student Center, where they are overwhelmed by the smell of grease from Chick-Fil-A and the incessant thunder-like thuds of falling barbells from the weightroom over Hagerty Family Cafe.
While some are unhappy with the university’s restrictions, others have embraced the patched life. Stanford Hall, famously the ex-residence of campus celebrity Fr. Pete McCormick, C.S.C., has taken permanent possession of North Quad for a perpetual Pirate Dance. Stanford has been accused, however, of appropriating Baumer’s dorm culture.
The Buccaneers, who have worn eye-patches to promote hall unity since the dorm’s founding pre-pinkeye, could not be reached for comment, as they have fully embraced the patch mandate and reside on the Black Pearl replica moored in St. Mary’s Lake.
“Things are different with patches, there’s no denying it,” Fr. Jenkins reflected, “But we’re still the same Notre Dame family, even with one eye covered. I struggle to understand all the controversy. It seems like we’ve all lost perspective.”
Some students have started to wonder when the slew of university health protocols will end, as the eye patch mandate follows close behind university-wide oven mitt mandate seeking to slow the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease, which ravaged the campus during the fall semester.
Mary Frances Myler is a senior majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies with minors in theology and constitutional studies. She copes with the absurdity of higher education by mentally reframing everything as a humor article. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.