Lectures at Georgetown University will move online until at least the end of January due to a rise in coronavirus cases, leaders have said in a letter to students.
The $60,000-a-year Washington DC school said it hoped in-person classes for spring semester would resume across the university campus January 31 following the two-week delay.
Undergraduate residential students however will still be able to move into on-campus dorms from January 11.
Georgetown President John J. DeGioia issued a letter detailing the temporary switch to students as the university joined several others across the country in going online.
Lectures at Georgetown University will move online until at least the end of January due to a rise in coronavirus cases, leaders have said in a letter to students
Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia issued a letter to students and staff detailing a plan for delayed return to in-person lectures on January 31 because of the ‘rapid spread of Omicron’
‘In recent weeks, we have seen the emergence and rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the Washington, DC region, across the country, and globally,’ it read.
‘Given that the surge in cases associated with the Omicron variant in the United States is projected to coincide with our return for the spring semester, we are adjusting our approach for the first few weeks of the semester.’
The Washington DC metro area hit a record 27,374 cases over the Christmas period, although this includes a data reporting delay.
However, figures from the John Hopkins Resource Center also show a 143 per cent rise in hospitalisations in the week to December 29.
The US broke a world record for average daily COVID cases for the second day in a row with 512,533 reported on Thursday, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of John Hopkins data
People wait in a long line at a District of Columbia Covid-19 testing site in Washington DC on December 29. The metro area has been a hotspot for recent Covid infections
The United States has hit a new record of 512,500 infection besting the nation’s previous record of 489,267 reported on Wednesday
Yesterday it was reported the United States had hit a record of 512,500 daily coronavirus cases – the most any country has ever reported in a 24-hour period.
It has set a new record the previous day with 489,267 infections.
Florida, Washington DC and Hawaii are among the hotspot states to see the largest percentage rise in the run-up to and over Christmas.
Other schools around the country that have announced they are going virtual in January include Harvard and Stanford universities, as well as the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Georgetown also announced that all students, faculty and staff will have to be tested before their arrival on campus.
Although the region is well-vaccinated, health experts say the omicron variant of the coronavirus is highly infectious and that they expect a surge in cases when the holidays are over.
In the period before the return to campus, Georgetown staff members who are able to work online are being encouraged to do so ‘as much as possible’.
‘As we continue to monitor the trajectory of the pandemic, we will share any further updates to our plans as soon as they become available,’ DeGioia added.
‘I deeply appreciate the engagement of each member of our community as we continue to navigate this challenging moment, together, as a University.’
Nearby American University in Cathedral Heights followed suit with Georgetown by delaying an in-person return until January 31.
President Sylvia M. Burwell said in her own letter: ‘While we sought to avoid another move to online classes, this is not a return to the situation we faced in spring 2020.’
‘Rather, it is a short-term, prudent approach to the current situation and risk factors.’