USC likely to demand COVID boosters, weighing online return

USC announced Friday that he is considering a remote start in the spring semester of 2022 and will likely require students to provide proof of COVID-19 booster injections, joining other higher education institutions in California to issue precautions as cases of coronaviruses are increasing amid the threat of the Omicron variant.

After tracking the increase in COVID-19 cases on campus, in the community and at other higher education institutions, the university said it was “evaluating a number of options” for the semester spring, including a remote start, and will announce a decision by the end of next week. It is likely that the university will need COVID-19 boosters, and an official announcement on this is also expected shortly.

“This fall, our protocols were successful in preventing outbreaks of COVID-19 and spreading in our classrooms and workplaces,” the university said in a health notice. “We are committed to ensuring the safety of our campus in the spring. ”

USC is not alone in preparing students as they are leaving campus for winter break for possible changes when they return in January.

Stanford University announced Thursday that students returning from winter vacation will return to distance learning for two weeks and will need to get COVID-19 booster shots, joining other universities mainly on the east coast.

When the semester begins Jan. 3, Stanford students will also be required to show proof of a booster injection by Jan. 31, with the exception of those with medical and religious accommodations. The university will also continue previous restrictions placed on student gatherings for the first two weeks, limiting some to outdoor events and limiting food and drink.

“We want to minimize disruption in student lessons and also provide as much predictability as possible for students and instructors,” said provost Persis Drell and associate vice-provost Russell Furr in a message to the campus community. “The current uncertainty around Omicron poses a number of logistical challenges for the start of in-person classes, particularly if students are either positive during the break and cannot return to campus on time, or are positive at their arrival and must isolate themselves. “

Occidental College in Los Angeles also announced Thursday that it will require eligible students, staff and faculty to present proof of a recall by January 18, citing the rise of the Omicron variant and its spread to Cornell University.

“We understand that sending a message like this just before College closes for winter break is less than ideal, but we have to adapt to the circumstances of the pandemic as they arise. develop. We want to give everyone as much notice as possible ”, Western officials said in a statement.

University of California President Michael V. Drake on Wednesday sent a letter to the UC community in order to encourage booster injections.

“While there is still a lot we don’t know about the Omicron variant, public health officials have made it clear that the variant has the potential to spread quickly,” Drake said, noting the concern. increasing due to the holiday season. “Vaccination, including boosters, remains our best line of defense. “

At UCLA, students who live in college housing on and off campus will be required to take a COVID-19 test after returning from travel, the university said. UC Irvine did not change its plans for the spring, according to spokesman Tom Vasich, but added that the campus planned to “closely monitor the impact of the Omicron variant and transmission levels, and to make the necessary adjustments “.

The two-week notice to Stanford students allows them and their teachers to prepare for distance education. Students should not change their travel plans, but are encouraged to get tested before returning to campus, officials said. Thursday’s post did not indicate whether university employees would also be required to provide proof of COVID-19 boosters.

The announcement comes as the country faces an increase in coronavirus cases during the holiday season and thousands of students return home. Other universities, including Princeton and Cornell, have moved to allow students to take exams remotely this semester. Princeton and Harvard the universities said students will need to receive COVID-19 booster shots when they return to campus in the spring.

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