Local universities delay the start of the spring semester due to omicron. Here are their plans
Multiple universities in the Greater Cincinnati region are pausing in-person activities due to rising COVID-19 cases as the omicron variant continues to spread.
The University of Cincinnati transitioned to online beginning Jan. 5 with plans to resume full in-person activities by Jan. 24. The university requires all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Northern Kentucky University will delay the start of its spring semester by one week due to rising cases of COVID-19 within the region. All classes at NKU will begin Jan. 18. Upon returning, the university recommends faculty include fewer in-person activities in their classes for the first two weeks. The university's indoor mask mandate will still be in effect.
In a release, NKU President Ashish Vaidya says the region is seeing 120 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day.
"It appears that illnesses from infection with omicron are, at least for those who are vaccinated and boosted, significantly milder than prior variants," Vaidya said. "However, omicron remains dangerous to the unvaccinated and those who haven’t received a third dose of the vaccines. We encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are able to do so. The vaccines have proven extraordinarily safe and highly effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness."
The campus will open at noon Tuesday, Jan. 4., but supervisors are being asked to consider opportunities for more staff to temporarily work from home. Move-in day for students living on campus has been pushed back to Jan. 14. Changes to dining and other services are being considered.
Final exams will occur the week following commencement in order to make up for the one-week delay. The university also will release a new spring and summer academic schedule due to needed adjustments.
On Jan. 9, Mount St. Joseph University announced it would move to virtual instruction effective Jan. 10.
Miami University is still planning on beginning its spring semester Jan. 24. However, the university is still monitoring the pandemic's impact throughout the region. The mask requirement will be re-evaluated later this month.
Last week, Xavier University announced masks will be required indoors to begin the spring semester. All students are expected to get tested within 72 hours (three days) before returning to campus. Xavier's spring semester begins Jan. 10.
According to the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) as of Dec. 28, 2021, the Greater Cincinnati region had a positivity rate of 18.2%. People between the ages of 18-24 had the highest percentage of positive test results.