UP goes virtual for at least the first week of spring semester

Booster shots also required within two weeks of eligibility

By Austin De Dios and William Seekamp | January 4, 2022 11:42am
UP will hold virtual classes for at least the first week of the semester and require booster shots for those that are eligible.
Media Credit: Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

UP will be going online for the first week of the spring semester, according to an email sent to faculty and staff, citing concerns over the omicron variant. Acting President Herbert Medina anticipates classes to return to in-person after Jan. 14, but further details will be released after the first week, he said in the email.  

Additionally, COVID-19 booster shots are now required for students, faculty and staff within two weeks of becoming eligible to receive the booster. Proof of vaccination will be uploaded through the Health and Counseling Center website. Medina expects all UP community members will be able to comply by Feb. 1, according to the email. 

“Despite this temporary change in instructional delivery, we ask all students to return to Portland as they had initially planned and take their courses from their residence halls or off-campus homes in Portland,” Medina said in the email. 

Other colleges and universities have made similar decisions in the past few weeks.

Events, student activities and other meetings should be moved online until Jan. 14, the email said. Bauccio Commons and Pilot House will open as planned, but orders will be to-go with de-densified seating. 

UP is encouraging students to receive a negative COVID-19 test before returning to Portland, taken no more than 48 hours before their return. All students — on and off campus — will be tested on campus by the University within four to six days of returning to Portland. Details on that process will be released soon, according to Medina. 

Masks will continue to be required indoors and in most outdoor settings. Health authorities are recommending KN95 or N95 respirators as the omicron variant runs rampant. 

Medina noted that UP is a highly vaccinated community — 96.7% of the community is fully vaccinated as of Nov. 2. Last semester, there were 44 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, with nine, the most of any week, coming the first week of classes, which coincided with the peak of the delta variant in Multnomah County.

“Please know that in the coming days and weeks, our COVID-19 Steering Committee and University leadership will continue to closely monitor Omicron and other pandemic developments,” Medina said in the email. 

Austin De Dios is the Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon. He can be reached at dedios22@up.edu.

William Seekamp is the News and Managing Editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at Seekamp22@up.edu