Massachusetts college tells students to 'stay in room' due to coronavirus omicron variant

The 'stay at home directive' is for students living on campus

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Emerson College in Boston has issued a "stay in room directive" for students living in residential halls on-campus from Jan. 3-17 due to the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

According to the Emerson College website, under the "stay in room directive" issued by the university, students living on-campus are asked to only leave their room in limited situations.

"The campus will operate in a ‘stay in room directive’ through January 18. This means students are asked to only leave their residence halls or place of residence for testing, meals, medical appointments, necessary employment, or to get mail.  Students should avoid any large gatherings and not leave campus or their residence except for those situations listed above," the announcement states.

All on-campus dining facilities will be offering take-out from Jan. 6-17, and will allow in-person dining on Jan. 18.

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Emerson College facade in Boston, Massachusetts.

Emerson College facade in Boston, Massachusetts. (Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

To be able to attend classes in person on Jan. 18, students will be required to receive two negative tests beforehand, in addition to receiving a booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine.

In an email to the campus community on Tuesday, Emerson College Interim President William Gilligan announced that all undergraduate and graduate classes will be held remotely through "at least" Jan. 17.

Many campus buildings will be closed until Jan. 18 as well, according to the announcement, including the campus fitness center. 

Many colleges have announced a delayed return to campus for the spring 2022 semester due to the omicron variant.

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Move-in assistants push empty carts down Boylston Street as students return to Emerson College's campus in Boston on Aug. 27, 2020.

Move-in assistants push empty carts down Boylston Street as students return to Emerson College's campus in Boston on Aug. 27, 2020. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As of Sept. 2, 96% of the Emerson College campus community have been vaccinated.

George Washington University, Columbia University, Duke University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Temple University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of California at San Diego, University of Washington, Illinois State University, have all announced they will begin their spring semester remotely.

George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc announced on Wednesday that the spring semester would begin remotely in January, with "full in-person operations" resuming on Jan. 18.

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Signs posted on Emerson buildings announce mask requirements as students return to the Boston campus on Aug. 27, 2020.

Signs posted on Emerson buildings announce mask requirements as students return to the Boston campus on Aug. 27, 2020. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

"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 Jan. 18, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday," the announcement said.

On Saturday, Harvard University announced that students will study remotely for the first three weeks in January, citing a "rapid rise" in coronavirus cases.

Faculty, staff and researchers are encouraged to work remotely for the first three weeks of January as well.