With Covid cases surging once again, a number of US colleges and universities are returning to online classes for the first 1-3 weeks of the upcoming semester as the winter break ends.
The fear of a spike in the number of cases due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant has caused many US universities to declare a return to online classes for at least the starting weeks of the January 2022 semester on a ‘conditional basis’.
While Harvard and the University of Chicago have decided to go back to online classes, others such as Michigan State University and the University of California have invited students to the campus but have decided to conduct classes for the beginning weeks online only.
George Washington University has also invited students to campus but classes will be held online until January 18, 2022. The university has also doubled its isolation centres and extended the deadline for booster shot requirements by three weeks.
From the point of view of students, this news comes as dissatisfactory. They are of the opinion that universities must trust booster shots as most of the recent cases have been mild. Most of them have complaints regarding the structure of online classes and state them as unprofitable and not upto the standards of a school charging high fees. Moreover, on-campus education gives a unique experience altogether and this system of online classes is keeping them away from all of it.
So far, over 70 colleges across 26 US states have announced to begin their semester online, while others are considering it.
Some universities such as the Northeastern University in Boston, among others, have decided to continue with in-person classes, explaining that the health risks are low and having booster shots is enough.
Some colleges like Syracuse University have all together shifted the start date of the term by a few weeks and the University of Florida plans to go back to in-person learning from the beginning of the Spring semester.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hoping to resume in-person classes after a week of online classes.
Source: The Hindu
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