Harvard University announced it will require booster shots and will also mostly shift to remote learning for the first three weeks of January 2022, citing spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
“Looking to the spring semester, Harvard will require COVID-19 boosters for all members of our community who are eligible, including students, faculty, staff, and researchers (individuals with an approved exemption will not need to submit additional information),” university administrators told Harvard affiliates on Dec. 16.
Lawrence Bacow, the university’s president, said in the message along with other top administrators that if people are unable to get a booster before they return to campus, “additional opportunities will be available,” and that they “will not be barred from entering campus.”
The administrators said they would communicate more information in early January about the booster shot requirement.
Harvard is also moving most of its learning and work to remote options for the first three weeks of January 2022, administrators informed affiliates on Dec. 18.
“Please know that we do not take this step lightly,” they said in an announcement. “It is prompted by the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases locally and across the country, as well as the growing presence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.”
“It is reinforced by the guidance of public health experts who have advised the University throughout the pandemic,” they added. “As always, we make this decision with the health and safety of our community as our top priority.”
Some activities will continue in person, such as laboratory work or patient-centered clinical activities. Students who can be on campus during the three-week period should have authorization from their respective schools to do so. Faculty, staff, and researchers should work remotely “if possible.”
The Omicron COVID-19 variant is expected to become the dominant variant across the United States and “potentially” peak in the first few weeks of January, administrators wrote. “We are planning a return to more robust on-campus activities later in January, public health conditions permitting,” they added.
The university’s spring semester classes is set to start on Jan. 24, after the three weeks.
Harvard on Dec. 18 acknowledged the Omicron variant is “already present” on campus.
According to the university’s dashboard, 344 people have tested positive for the virus in the last seven days.
Vaccination rates at the Cambridge, Massachusetts based university as of mid-November 2021 is 97 percent among employees and 97 percent among students.
From The Epoch Times