Omicron shutdowns begin: Cornell, Stanford go virtual

NYU, Princeton, and Georgetown are also moving their exams virtual.

Universities are among the first organizations to shut down due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

A new round of campus shutdowns is beginning due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Cornell University shut down its entire Ithaca campus on Dec. 14, and Stanford announced today that the first two weeks of its winter term would be delivered virtually. 

The Stanford Daily reports that, despite low case numbers at the start of the semester, Stanford experienced a slight uptick in cases following Thanksgiving. The winter quarter will still begin in early January, but in-person instruction will begin on Jan. 18. 

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Cornell University announced a campus-wide shut down on Dec. 14 due to a spike in positive tests. The university says that many of these cases are the Omicron variant, though no student has experienced severe illness from the variant thus far. 

NYU, Princeton, and Georgetown University have moved their remaining final exams online. 

On Dec. 15, Georgetown shuttered its dining hall (except for grab-and-go meals) and its gym, and it directed all university events to either be moved outside or canceled. Eating and drinking in communal areas is prohibited, and social distancing is now required in the libraries. 

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Princeton has directed the campus community to “cancel or postpone all indoor gatherings with food, and those where face coverings can’t be worn, effective Thursday, December 16 through Friday, January 7, 2022.”

NYU strongly urged faculty to administer exams virtually and cancelled “all discretionary, non-essential, non-academic gatherings and events.”