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Several California Universities Will Start 2022 Remotely Amid Concerns Over Omicron

AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

Six University of California campuses will begin next semester online as a result of growing concerns of the Wuhan coronavirus and the Omicron variant, The Hill reported Wednesday.


The six campuses transitioning to virtual learning in the new year are UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, US Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC San Diego. The virtual learning will last for two weeks. UC Davis will move to virtual learning for the first week of the semester, with in-person instruction beginning Jan. 10.

In its announcement of the upcoming shift to virtual learning, UCLA said that they will require booster shots for all who are eligible, which is “consistent with the UC systemwide vaccine policy.” The deadline for students is Jan. 18, while the deadline for employees is Jan. 31. Previously, the schools mandated students and faculty to be fully vaccinated against the virus. 

Though classes will be online for two weeks, UCLA students “should still plan to return to campus no later than Jan. 9 to participate in a robust COVID-19 testing program that will help keep our community healthier,” the announcement also stated.

In recent weeks, California reimplemented a statewide indoor mask mandate to combat the spread of the Omicron variant. The emergence of the variant in the United States began in San Francisco, when a traveler who visited South Africa and returned home Nov. 22 tested positive for the virus.


"Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and the sequence was confirmed at CDC as being consistent with the Omicron variant. This will be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Dec. 1. As of yesterday, the Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of all COVID-19 cases.

In California, specifically, COVID-19 cases reported from Friday through Sunday average around 8.757 cases per day, up nearly 30 percent since one week prior. It is expected that Omicron will spread rapidly in populated areas, like California and New York.

According to The Hill, “Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to announce a booster shot mandate for healthcare workers in the Golden State on Wednesday.”


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