Syracuse University (SU) has postponed the start of its spring semester to protect students, faculty, and staff members against the post-holiday surge in COVID-19 infections. The two-week delay will now push back the beginning of in-person classes to Monday, February 8, according to Chancellor Kent Syverud.
“Starting our semester two weeks later best positions us to resume residential instruction in a manner that safeguards the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the Central New York community,” he wrote in an email to the university.
The schedule was delayed to provide sufficient time for the school’s frontline workers to be vaccinated before returning to campus. Syverud finalized the decision upon consulting with Onondaga County health officials as it became clear that a rise in COVID cases seemed inevitable.
“The delayed start also gets us closer to the time when vaccines will be more widely available across the country,” Syverud added.
Pre-existing safety measures will continue once students return. Face masks will be required, social distancing will be imposed, and a reduced capacity for gatherings will still be in effect.
Other higher education institutions have also decided to delay their spring semester schedules or change their initial plans as a response to the serious coronavirus surge overtaking America.
Pennsylvania State University studies local trends and anticipated a possible rise of cases and hospitalizations. This prompted the school to postpone in-person learning for the spring. All Penn State campus locations will temporarily transition online from January 19 until February 12, while in-person classes will resume on February 15.
Cornerstone University has also chosen to delay its spring classes to February 1 as the “J-term” for undergraduate students will now start on January 19 instead of January 4. This two-week postponement will serve as a time for students coming back from the holidays to fully quarantine themselves.
On December 18, Christian Brothers University (CBU) President Jack Shannon and Vice President for Academics Paul Haught also wrote a letter to the CBU community that the university is postponing the spring semester until January 30 to prepare for a projected rise in COVID-19 cases.