Universities continue to respond to increases in the number of students contracting coronavirus. The responses range from moving all classes and final exams online to banning social events for students. Additionally, more colleges are announcing booster vaccination requirements.
Middlebury moves online
Middlebury College is moving all classes and final exams online for the remainder of the semester.
Thursday’s announcement came after 34 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed on campus., bringing the total to 49 active student cases and one active employee case.
“While many of the new cases we have identified appear to be connected, occurring in groups among people socializing together, an increase in the prevalence of COVID-19 increases the likelihood of wider community transmission. Given the timing of this increase, coinciding with the end of the fall semester and the impending dismissal of students, we have decided to immediately move to remote instruction and postpone the in-person events. This includes classes that meet on Friday, December 10, finals, and all formal and informal events, including athletic and performing arts competitions, ”the announcement said.
“With more than 99 percent of students fully vaccinated and many already receiving booster doses, the risk of adverse health outcomes from the Delta variant is low. The increase in cases of students requiring isolation, continuous transmission and the few days left in the semester justify the change to remote instruction, ”the announcement added.
The university encouraged students to leave Middlebury immediately, but is making arrangements for those who cannot.
On Friday night, Middlebury sent a message to the students saying that two more cases had been confirmed.
However, the message read: “We have every expectation that the winter period will be in person, using arrival test protocols and other measures that we have.”
Cornell cancels all student meetings
Cornell University announced that it is canceling “all in-person, formal or informal student meetings.”
The university said that “the in-person exams will continue as planned, as there has been no evidence of transmission of the virus in the classroom. All the exams are already undersized (50 percent of capacity). “
Increase in cases at Penn
The University of Pennsylvania announced that during the last week of testing, the university confirmed 133 cases, more than 120 in the previous week.
“The new COVID cases are primarily among students and linked to indoor social gatherings,” read a letter from Beth A. Winkelstein, Acting Chancellor, Craig Carnaroli, Senior Executive Vice President, and Benoit Dubé, Director of Wellness. “There have not yet been any documented COVID cases of transmission in the classroom or in the workplace.”
As a result, the university announced that all indoor social events will be canceled for the remainder of the semester.
Tulane restores the command of the mask
Tulane University announced Friday that it would reinstate its mask mandate. “The university requires that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks while inside campus buildings from now until the end of the year. It is recommended that all non-essential meetings where food and beverages will be served be moved to an outdoor location and continue to follow all CDC guidelines, ”said the university guide.
“Even more than masking, receiving booster shots is an effective way to protect yourself and the community against Omicron and other variants of COVID-19,” he added.
In-person Christmas parties from Rochester bars
The University of Rochester announced that in-person Christmas parties were prohibited “for the safety and well-being of members of the university community and in an effort to prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases after the holidays.”
The university’s announcement said that “students, faculty and staff are being asked to consider alternatives to in-person meetings during the holidays, such as virtual celebrations, until such time as we can meet again with less risk of transmission.”
More universities require booster shots
In recent days, more universities have announced a requirement that all students, faculty, and other employees receive a booster shot against COVID-19.
Northeastern University is among these institutions.
Others are Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges and Wake Forest University.