Faced with rising infections and new variants of COVID-19, universities across the United States were once again blocked in their search to return to normal, and began to need to strengthen injections, extend the use of masks, limit social gatherings, and in some cases recover Online class.
The threat of omicron variants is a blow to schools hoping to relax safety measures this spring. Now, many people tell students to prepare for cover-ups and tests for the next semester, and to limit their social life if the situation worsens.
Kent Syverud, the principal of the Upstate New York School, said that after the fall with few coronavirus cases, officials at Syracuse University “feel very good” for the spring semester.
“But omicron changed that,” Syverud said. “This brings us back to say that we will have to restore some precautions before we are sure to learn more about this variant.”
Last week, Syracuse announced that all eligible students and employees must be vaccinated with the COVID-19 booster before the spring semester. Students will also face a round of virus testing when they return, and officials are weighing whether to extend the use of existing masks.
Regarding the omicron variants and the threat they pose is still unknown. In the United States and many other countries, most current COVID-19 cases are caused by delta variants.
But as universities prepare for the worst, many people see boosters as their best hope. In recent weeks, more than 20 universities have issued enhanced injection requirements, and other universities have indicated that they are considering it. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people 17 and older to receive booster doses. Pfizer announced last week that the booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine may provide important protection for omicron, although the first two doses seem to be less effective.
Hundreds of universities already need a COVID-19 vaccine, and some people say that boosters are clearly the next step.
To date, most booster missions have come from small liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, but the list includes some as large as Boston University, as far as Notre Dame University in Indiana and the University of New Mexico.
The University of Massachusetts in Amherst was one of the first universities to require students to get boosters, saying that all students must be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption.
“Boosters are our best protection,” said Jeffrey Hescock, co-director of the University’s Center for Public Health Promotion. “This shows that we attach great importance to public health, and so do our students.”
A recent online petition against strengthening authorization-citing 97% of students vaccinated and few cases on campus-attracted dozens of signatures. But Emily O’Brien, a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, said that enhanced injections are a reasonable need. She has planned to obtain boosters, but said that this authorization may increase student acceptance and prevent future blockades.
O’Brien, 18, of Bedford, NSW, said: “If the past six months have shown anything, it’s that many people won’t bother to get vaccinated-especially young and healthy people-if they don’t ask for it. Words.” Hampshire.
The University of Massachusetts will also require masks to be worn at the beginning of the spring semester and will send students home for quick tests at the end of the winter vacation.
Many universities that plan for possible interruptions in the next semester are already responding to the campus epidemic in the weeks following Thanksgiving.
After more than 400 students tested positive within two days, Cornell University closed all campus activities on Tuesday and moved the final exam online. In the campus information, Principal Martha Pollack stated that there is evidence of omicron variants in a “large” sample.
Pollack wrote: “It is obviously very frustrating to have to take these measures.” “However, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been committed to following science and doing everything we can to protect the health of faculty, staff and students.
Due to the surge in cases, Middlebury College in Vermont switched to distance learning last week and urged students to leave early for winter vacation. The rising number of cases at the University of Pennsylvania led to a ban on indoor social activities last Thursday.
On Friday, Tulane University in New Orleans warned that the campus surge included “probable” cases of the omicron variant, which was confirmed in at least one student last week. In response, school officials restored the requirement to wear masks and expanded the scope of virus testing.
Other universities that will extend mask requirements to next year include Wake Forest University, West Virginia University and Pennsylvania State University.
Some other schools have postponed returning to school next month to avoid an outbreak. Southern New Hampshire University and Chicago DePaul University recently stated that students will take classes remotely for two weeks and then return to campus after the holidays.
DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban stated in a letter to students that the school will “be cautious in starting the winter semester so that we can maintain a good university experience for the rest of the school year.”
When Stanford University students return to campus in January, they will be prohibited from hosting parties or other large gatherings for two weeks. They will also be tested once a week and continue to wear masks indoors as a requirement for face-to-face courses. Russell Furr, the deputy provost for environmental health and safety, said that these measures are designed to limit the spread of the virus without unduly limiting the university experience.
“This is a problem that we have been trying to solve throughout the pandemic-how do we get a balanced approach?” Foer said. He added that the goal was to avoid the strict lockdown that occurred in the early stages of the pandemic, when the mental health of students was “really affected.”
In some universities, there is still cautious hope for the normal semester. Leaders at the University of Central Florida told the professors that they can request to attend in person in the spring, which has been discouraged this fall due to the surge in Delta cases.
In the campus information, interim provost Michael D. Johnson warned that if the omicron variant takes off, “we may need to change direction again.”
Anita Barkin, co-chair of the COVID-19 Working Group of the American College Health Association, said that another concern is the timing of omicron-even if there are no new variants, people are worried that as the cold weather prompts people to enter indoors and break out More epidemics.
The association recently recommended that universities focus on increasing vaccination rates to avoid a new wave of cases.
“All the message is that we need to be vigilant,” Ba Jin said. “There must be pandemic fatigue, people are tired of pandemics-but it seems that pandemics are not very tired of us.”