Several more major American universities have announced a remote start to the spring 2022 semester, citing the recent increase in coronavirus omicron variant cases around the country.
Michigan State University and the University of Miami have announced that students will begin the spring semester with remote learning for most of their classes. Duke University has also announced that it is extending the amount of time that students will learn remotely.
In an announcement on Friday, the President of Michigan State University, Samuel Stanley, announced that the spring semester will begin with remote learning on Jan. 10 for "at least" three weeks, citing the "intense surge" in coronavirus cases.
"Given this intense surge in cases, we now feel the best decision for our campus is to start classes primarily remotely on Jan. 10 and for at least the first three weeks of the semester," Stanley said.
Stanley said that while he'd rather start off the semester with in-person learning, the school will shift to remote learning in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"I realize that students prefer to be in person, and so do I. But it is important that we do so in a safe manner. Starting the semester remotely and de-densifying campus in the coming weeks can be a solution to slowing the spread of the virus," Stanley said.
Some classes, such as those in professional school programs and certain labs, will continue in-person, Stanley noted, adding that residence halls, dining halls, and library services would remain open during the period of time students are in classes remotely.
University of Miami President Julio Frenk announced on Wednesday that classes will be remote for the first two weeks of the semester.
"First, classes will start on time Tuesday, January 18, 2022. However, we will pivot to remote instruction for the first two weeks of the spring semester, with in-person instruction resuming on January 31," Frenk said.
Students will still be able to move onto campus residence halls during the remote instruction period, Frenk said.
Frenk added that students returning to campus will need to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test within 48 to 72 hours of arrival on campus. For students living on-campus, an additional test will be required upon arrival.
The Duke University administration announced on Friday that they will be extending the period of time that students will be attending classes remotely. Previously, students were expected to return to in-person classes on Jan. 10, but that has been extended to Jan. 18.
Many colleges and universities around the country have already announced a shift to remote learning to start the spring semester.
George Washington University, Columbia University, Duke University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Temple University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at San Diego and the University of Washington have all announced they will begin their spring semester remotely, adding to the growing number of colleges and universities taking similar measures.