We previously reported that Howard University has delayed its spring semester, and now Delaware State University has decided a similar fate. Get the full story from Chanel Hill Tribune Staff Writers at The Philadelphia Tribune below.

Credit: Delaware State University

Delaware State University is delaying the return of students to campus by two weeks due to the surge in coronavirus cases that’s being driven by the Omicron variant.

Classes will still begin as planned on Jan. 10, but they will be held virtually for two weeks.

To return to campus, all students, faculty and staff will be required to get a booster shot unless they have university-approved religious or medical exceptions.

Those without booster-shot protection will not be permitted on campus during the spring semester. The university will make booster shots available on campus in January.

“The Omicron variant represents a new challenge because it is so highly contagious, but by mandating vaccine booster shots and briefly delaying the start of face-to-face classes, university leaders are giving their community the best chance for students to continue working toward their degrees in relative safety,” Dr. Neil Hockstein, a Delaware physician and adviser to Testing for America, said in a statement.

In a letter to the university community, Delaware State president Tony Allen said a booster is the best chance to defend against widespread infection.

“The Omicron variant is durable, has very high penetration rates even for those who are fully vaccinated and spreads three to four times more quickly than other variants we have seen,” Allen said in the letter.

“Those who are fully vaccinated and have the booster are much less likely to contract the virus,” he said.

“As a result, we have concluded that this is the best path forward,” he added. “The booster is our best chance to defend against widespread infection on campus, protecting you and the people around you.”

Michelle Fisher, associate vice president of campus health, added that students should get the booster shot right away as the shot does not provide maximum effectiveness until two weeks after it’s given.

“With the widespread availability of booster shots, the university is emphasizing to all students that they should get a booster shot as soon as possible,” Fisher said.

“The booster does not provide maximum effectiveness until two weeks after it is administered and the university wants its students as fully protected as possible before they arrive on campus at the beginning of the semester.”

Allen said the university will continue to implement a number of measures to fight the pandemic.

“While COVID-19 continues to disrupt our normal business, the university’s nimble, science-based approach has served us well since the pandemic’s earliest days, keeping case counts low by using the best tools at our disposal, including required vaccination, mask wearing, regular testing, and contact-tracing protocols,” Allen said.