Harvard University Planning to Continue Spring Semester In-Person Despite Increase in COVID-19 Cases

Harvard University in spring

Harvard University has announced its plans for an in-person semester despite the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among Harvard members and across the nation.

Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow and other university leaders said in a statement that they have updated university plans and restrictions by closely following the new data about the Omicron variant, Erudera.com reports.

“Although infection with Omicron is expected to have less serious health consequences, we must continue to practice the healthy habits and behaviors that reduce the risk of transmission,” the statement reads.

The university also announced Tuesday that it will ask its community, including all eligible students, staff, faculty, and researchers, to receive booster shots by January 31. Affiliates have been required to verify proof of receiving COVID-19 boosters on the Harvard University Health Services Patient Portal by this date.

For those who are not yet eligible for a booster shot, the deadline for vaccination will be 30 days after becoming eligible for the booster.

Harvard allows mixing of brands, while for those who have an approved exemption, it notes that they are not required to submit additional documentation.

If you are unable to get a booster before you return, you will not be barred from entering campus. You will, however, be expected to arrange for the booster as soon as possible,” Harvard’s leaders wrote.

Harvard pointed out that despite the presence of the Omicron variant, they are confident that they will manage to maintain a safe academic and work environment by minimizing contact, wearing masks, maintaining distance, and performing regular tests. According to the university, masks remain critical to curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The statement further says that vaccinated individuals who have not received booster shots should undergo quarantine for five days when they are exposed to COVID-19 risk.

“The University will continue to update guidance regarding size and other logistics for gatherings and events, as well as protocols for visitors to campus, based on the public health situation,” the statement adds.

COVID-19 workplace restrictions at Harvard will remain in effect through April 1, 2022.

Last month, Harvard University said that it will move much of its learning and work remotely for the first three weeks of January due to rising COVID-19 cases and spread of the Omicron variant; however, it also announced that during the period, students will have access to online library services, book request services, and some library facilities.

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