Rising Omicron Cases Force American Universities to Adopt Remote Learning
More American colleges and universities are commencing the spring semester using a remote format because of rising cases of Covid-19.
Students have been advised to study online and postpone plans to return to the campus.
George Washington University, Columbia University, Duke University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Temple University, the University of California at Los Angeles, University of California at San Diego, and the University of Washington have all announced they will begin their spring semester remotely, adding to the already growing number of colleges and universities taking similar measures.
The spring semester would begin remotely in January, with “full in-person operations” resuming on Jan. 18, George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc and other officials announced on Tuesday
“At this time, we plan to begin the spring semester virtually to allow for a gradual and careful in-person return to campus. We anticipate that this will be a temporary adjustment, and we are projecting that full in-person operations will resume on January 18, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday,” the announcement said.
The university officials pointed to an increase in coronavirus cases “fueled by the omicron variant” as the reason for making the decision to begin the spring semester remotely.
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Additionally, the university officials announced that the deadline for all eligible returning community members to receive the coronavirus booster shot and provide documentation has been adjusted from Feb. 1 to Jan. 10.
A student of George Washington University, Patrick Burland told Fox News that he’s fearful that his university will end up extending the amount of time that classes are remote.
“The administration isn’t setting any benchmarks. The language they’re using is reminiscent of the bait and switch they pulled last fall, but I hope I’m wrong and that GW will allow students to attend in-person classes,” Burland said.
Duke University is planning to hold remote classes from Jan. 5 through Jan. 8, and in-person classes are expected to return on Jan. 10.
At Temple University, classes will be conducted online through Jan. 21, with some exceptions, according to an announcement.
“Rapid rise” in coronavirus means students and members of staff will spend the first three weeks of January, Harvard University announced on Saturday that students will study remotely for the first three weeks of January.
Stanford University also announced a remote start to their spring semester, with classes being held online for the first two weeks of the winter quarter. According to the announcement, in-person instruction will resume on Jan. 18.
A medical analyst and professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, Dr. Marc Siegel told Fox News that universities are making a mistake by moving to remote learning.
“Since it’s a university, if you look at it completely medically, it’s a built-in quarantine situation,” Dr. Siegel said. “What do you got at a university? The ability to quarantine people, the ability to study a whole population, the ability to rapidly test everyone, the ability to make sure everybody is vaccinated.”