DECEMBER 20, 2021
Harvard University has decided to move much of its learning and work remotely for the first three weeks of January due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant, the university has announced.
“Please know that we do not take this step lightly. It is reinforced by the guidance of public health experts who have advised the university throughout the pandemic,” the university administration notes in a statement published on the university’s website.
Faculty, staff and researchers are required to work online during this three-week period, meanwhile, online library services, book request services and some library facilities will still be available, Erudera.com reports.
Only students who have previously been authorized to stay on campus or those with an authorization from their school have been told to plan their return to campus during the three-week period.
According to the statement, each Harvard school will communicate with students directly regarding arrangements for January programs and other academic activities that will be impacted by the decision to move to online learning again.
Nevertheless, not all learning will go online as some programs will continue in-person, for instance, those with “essential in-person laboratory or patient-centred clinical requirements.”
The university plans to return to on-campus activities later in January if public health conditions allow and until then, it will continue to monitor the situation.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on these plans as soon as we are able,” the statement reads.
In addition to the decision to switch to online learning, to prevent the risk of COVID-19, Harvard has also advised all its students and employees to minimize contact, maintain distance, perform COVID-19 tests and most importantly, to get their vaccine booster.
“Together we can continue to maintain the health and safety of our community, while pursuing the research and teaching mission of the university. We wish you a safe and restful winter recess and holiday season,” the university pointed out.
On December 16, Harvard announced its students and staff that the Omicron variant is present on campus and pointed out that COVID-19 boosters will be required for the spring semester.
However, the announcement said that those who are unable to get boosters before returning to campus after the winter break will have additional opportunities available to not be banned from entering campus.
So far, 97 percent of employees and 97 percent of students at Harvard University are vaccinated against COVID-19.