Harvard University to Require COVID-19 Booster Shots, Shift to Remote Learning Temporarily in January

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Reporter
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter covering world news with a focus on U.S. news. Based in Australia, she has a background in clinical optometry. Contact Mimi at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com
December 19, 2021 Updated: December 19, 2021

Harvard University has announced that it will require COVID-19 vaccine booster shots and that it will also mostly shift to remote learning for the first three weeks of January 2022, citing the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Looking to the spring semester, Harvard will require COVID-19 boosters for all members of our community who are eligible, including students, faculty, staff, and researchers (individuals with an approved exemption will not need to submit additional information),” university administrators said in a Dec. 16 statement.

Lawrence Bacow, president of Harvard, along with other top administrators, said in the statement that if people are unable to get a vaccine booster dose before they return to campus, “additional opportunities will be available” and that they “will not be barred from entering campus.”

The administrators said they will communicate more information in early January about the vaccine booster shot requirement.

Harvard is also moving most of its learning and work to remote options for the first three weeks of January 2022, administrators stated on Dec. 18.

“Please know that we do not take this step lightly,” they said in a statement. “It is prompted by the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases locally and across the country, as well as the growing presence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“It is reinforced by the guidance of public health experts who have advised the University throughout the pandemic. As always, we make this decision with the health and safety of our community as our top priority.”

Some activities will continue to occur in person, such as laboratory work or patient-centered clinical activities. Students who need to be on campus during the three-week period should have authorization from their respective schools to do so. Faculty, staff, and researchers should work remotely “if possible.”

The Omicron COVID-19 variant is expected to become the dominant variant across the United States and “potentially” peak in the first few weeks of January, according to university administrators.

“We are planning a return to more robust on-campus activities later in January, public health conditions permitting,” they wrote.

The university’s spring semester classes are set to start on Jan. 24, following the three-week period.

On Dec. 18, Harvard acknowledged that the Omicron variant is “already present” on campus.

According to the university’s dashboard, 344 people have tested positive for the virus in the past seven days.

Vaccination rates at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university as of mid-November 2021 were at 97 percent among employees and 97 percent among students.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter covering world news with a focus on U.S. news. Based in Australia, she has a background in clinical optometry. Contact Mimi at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com