University leadership discusses spring semester amid omicron surge

By News@TheU

University leadership discusses spring semester amid omicron surge

By News@TheU
A town hall held virtually on Monday evening allowed the University community to get more information about the necessity of modifications to the start of the spring semester, which will begin remotely on Jan. 18 with plans to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 31.

University of Miami leadership hosted a virtual town hall meeting on Monday evening to update students, faculty, and staff about their decision to begin the semester remotely, as well as to answer questions about new campus policies amid the latest COVID-19 surge, driven by the omicron variant. 

In late December, the University opted to start classes in a remote format for the first two weeks because omicron began to surge not just in South Florida, but across many parts of the United States. The highly contagious variant has sparked the largest case numbers in the United States since the pandemic began, making it challenging to get tested for COVID-19, as well as disrupting travel and prompting personnel shortages nationwide because so many people have been infected.

President Julio Frenk, a physician and noted global public health leader, said that the University’s pivot to online instruction for the first two weeks of the Spring 2022 semester came with a goal to cause the least disruption as possible for students. It also aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the University’s three campuses during what is projected to be the peak of the omicron surge in South Florida, he stated. By Jan. 31, when in-person classes are expected to resume, Frenk said projections indicate that COVID-19 cases will begin declining locally.  

During the town hall, Frenk was joined by Jeffrey Duerk, the University’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost; Jacqueline Travisano, executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer; Dr. Roy Weiss, COVID-19 chief medical officer and chair of the Department of Medicine at the Miller School of Medicine; Patricia Whitely, senior vice president for student affairs; and professor Erin Kobetz, vice provost for research and scholarship, who is also leading the University’s COVID-19 testing, tracking, and tracing strategy.

 

Visit coronavirus.miami.edu to learn more about the University’s COVID-19 policies or to find on-campus testing information and locations.