CINCINNATI — Several colleges and universities in the Tri-State will start classes on or before Jan. 10, but the surge of COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant has forced some to rethink their return plans.
On Jan. 9, Mount St. Joseph University announced in a social media post it would move to virtual instruction and remote work status for employees beginning Monday, Jan. 10.
The University of Cincinnati announced on Jan. 4 its switch to online operations until Jan. 24. Students will return to class as scheduled on Jan. 10, but the first two weeks of instruction will be remote.
“A really big piece of the conversation was making sure that we were also creating a way that we were continuing to deliver the education and the classes to the students and we didn’t have a scenario where students were missing classes for a week or two at a time due to quarantine,” said Jack Miner, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at UC.
Another school making significant changes to the start of the spring semester is Northern Kentucky University. Instead of starting in-person classes Jan. 10 like it originally planned, NKU is pushing back the start date one week and students will be in a hybrid format for the first couple of weeks.
“We are in a tough spot and we had to do something,” said Matt Cecil, NKU’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We just didn’t feel comfortable starting classes as normal basically next Monday. That just didn’t seem right to us.”
Xavier University and Thomas More University plan to bring back in-person classes on Jan. 10 as scheduled. All of them will have a mask requirement.
“We’ve created a really safe environment through our vaccination rates,” Doug Ruschman, XU’s Associate VP for Marketing and Communications, said. “We also think our students do best emotionally, psychologically, educationally when they’re here on campus.”
Meanwhile, students at Wilmington College came back to in-person classes this Thursday. The school says it, too, is requiring masks and also following social distancing and reduced capacity guidelines in classrooms and cafeterias.
“We have tested all of the students that were here over break as well as all of the returning students,” said Libby Hayes, the Director of Human Resources at Wilmington College. “When we’re making decisions, we make them based on what is the safer thing to do for our campus community.”
Miami University students still have some time before they need to get back to class. Their semester is scheduled to start Jan. 24.