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Univ. moves first two weeks of classes online, changes policies for spring 2022

Classes will be held remotely until Feb. 1, with students having the option to move in up until Jan. 31, according to an email sent by Ron Liebowitz, President, Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. 

“Our impressive vaccination rate is likely to significantly mitigate the degree of illness we experience on campus. However, we should all be prepared to see much higher positivity rates in our COVID testing program due to Omicron,” reads the email. 

In response to the surge, classes will begin remotely, currently in-person classes are scheduled to begin on Feb. 1. The email highlighted that this is a temporary measure which they “hope will enable us to return to in-person classes and other activities quickly.” During this period, dining halls will be “grab-and-go.” Additional information regarding the changes to dining will be released at a later date. 

Residence halls will open as planned, on Jan. 16, however students will be able to choose to delay their arrival up-until Jan. 31. Additionally, students should be prepared to isolate themselves in their own rooms, due to the “limited isolation spaces available,” according to the email. Further decisions regarding isolation, such as the location and length will be made on a case-by-case basis. These decisions will be made by medical providers, following CDC guidelines. All students are required to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as they come to campus.
Non-essential staff will also continue to work from home until Feb. 1; return to campus will be determined by individual departments. Staff members are also asked to get a COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus.

Brandeis will implement the CDC’s guidelines for mask-wearing, and encourages members to use surgical masks or respirators (KN95 and KF94) in order to be better protected. Members of the Brandeis community who have tested positive over the winter break are required to notify the Brandeis Case Tracing Program, in order to coordinate their return to campus. Additionally, the email reminded members of the Brandeis community that if they are “contacted by BCTP, you must respond.” Individuals who test positive to COVID-19 may not come to campus until they have been cleared by BCTP.  

All members of the Brandeis community will be required to receive a vaccine booster by Jan. 25; those with exemptions will retain them. Individuals who received non-FDA approved vaccines will receive instructions soon. Individuals who are not eligible must submit documentation of receipt within 30 days of eligibility. Additional instructions for uploading documentation are to follow. On-campus booster clinics are currently being scheduled; Brandeis had clinics in late November and December. More information can be found in a previous Hoot article. 

Community members are strongly encouraged to take a rapid test immediately prior to their return to campus. The COVID-19 testing site in the Shapiro Science Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The email highlighted that the testing site is only to be used by asymptomatic individuals. 

Students living on campus are still required to submit a negative rapid or PCR test prior to returning to campus. An email from MyHousing was sent out to students, providing a place where they can upload their negative test results. Students living off-campus are encouraged to get tested prior to their return.

In-person events will no longer be allowed to serve food or beverages; participants are required to be masked regardless of the size of the gathering. 

“We are deeply grateful to the Brandeis community for everyone’s ongoing efforts to keep each other safe throughout the many challenges and changes we’ve experienced since March 2020. Thanks to your partnership, we have been able to continue the important work of our teaching and research mission since then,” concluded the email. 

All further details and new updates are available on the COVID-19 Response website.

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