Covid-19 Live News: Omicron, vaccines and case updates
Middlebury College in Vermont announced Thursday evening that it will switch to distance education for the remainder of the semester as the epidemic grows. The college will organize remote final exams.
Administrators announced 34 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases reported to 50, the highest number on campus since the start of the pandemic.
New restrictions are due to start at 5 a.m. on Friday. Meals on campus will change to take-out. All indoor events, sporting events and artistic performances have been postponed. Authorities urged students to limit gatherings indoors to six people.
“While many of the new cases we have identified appear to be connected, occurring in clusters among people who socialize together, an increase in the prevalence of Covid-19 increases the likelihood of wider community transmission,” wrote university officials in a campus-wide email obtained. by The New York Times.
While many colleges have made campus testing mandatory for all students, testing has remained optional this semester for most Middlebury students, the student newspaper reported, although unvaccinated students and varsity athletes in season traveling must meet the testing requirements. Officials said 99% of the student body was fully immunized. Boosters will be needed by mid-February.
DePaul University in Chicago plans to begin winter courses remotely after students have traveled for winter vacation. Southern New Hampshire University will take similar action. Both schools plan to maintain the return to in-person teaching through mid-January.
Vermont is the most vaccinated state in the United States, according to federal data: 74% of its population is fully vaccinated. But cases are increasing, up 25% in the past two weeks. In Addison County, where Middlebury is located, new cases have increased 56% in the past two weeks.
Administrators urged Middlebury students to leave campus early. “Students who can go on a break or change plans without complications or unreasonable expense should do so,” officials wrote in the email to the students at 7:55 p.m.
The college offers optional tests on Friday and Saturday. University officials said asymptomatic students would not need a test result to leave campus.
“There is rampant general anxiety, both for our health and safety, but also for what that means for courses, finals, events, performances,” said Riley Board, 21, writer. head of the student newspaper, The Middlebury Campus.
“If I were to predict how people will feel tomorrow, it will be this end of semester defeat,” Ms. Board said. “Where we all have to leave a little early and knowing that something went wrong at the very end. “