In-person instruction continues into spring semester despite COVID-19 spike

UD sent an email to the campus community Tuesday morning with updated information regarding COVID-19 protocols. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

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Zoë Hill | News Editor

The spring semester will look similar to the fall despite the COVID-19 surge, according to an announcement sent by the University of Dayton.  

The semester plan, which was announced via email to students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, focuses on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 during the fifth wave of the pandemic. The most recent surge of cases is driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, according to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The university’s approach focuses on the campus community getting vaccinated and boosted, testing, wearing masks indoors on campus and social distancing. 

The announcement clarified that events can still take place in-person as long as organizations comply with masking rules. In addition, no food or drink may be served at in-person events. Some offices around campus that are not student-facing may also work from home temporarily. 

The university said the decision to remain in-person for instruction is based on the current pandemic conditions in Dayton. The Path Forward Team also noted there are “significant, long-term academic and life challenges” that come with remote learning. 

“Nearly two years of this pandemic have demonstrated clearly that in-person learning is crucial to both student well-being and academic success at the University of Dayton,” the announcement said.

The Path Forward Team believes UD is “well-positioned” to continue in-person instruction for the spring semester. The university also said the decision is in part due to the success of the fall semester. 

“Our classroom safety protocols, including masking of both students and instructors, and high vaccination rates proved successful in helping to curb cases during the fall semester,” the announcement said.

Montgomery County is currently the fifth highest county in Ohio for positive COVID-19 cases, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health. As of Monday, the county has 92,259 active cases. 

With 7,936 individuals hospitalized, Montgomery County is the second highest Ohio county for COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

A more in-depth announcement on some of the spring semester protocols will be sent out to students, faculty and staff, according to the Path Forward Team. The team also asks that students monitor their emails in the coming weeks for forthcoming details and for updates if the local pandemic conditions change.

Several other Southwest Ohio universities have released updated COVID-19 policies for their spring semester as well:

  • Wright State University plans to begin classes in-person on Monday, and is continuing to mandate masks for all indoor settings.
  • The University of Cincinnati said that it will move to completely remote operations starting Wednesday. In-person instruction and activity is expected to return Jan. 24.
  • Miami University, which begins classes on Jan. 24, said it will re-evaluate it’s COVID-19 protocols in mid-January.
  • Students at Xavier University are required to provide a negative test within three days before returning to campus. Xavier has also re-instated a mask mandate for all indoor settings. Classes begin in-person on Jan. 10.
  • Wittenberg University, a liberal arts college in Springboro, Ohio, will be starting the spring semester remotely on Monday. According to the university, students will be tested for COVID-19 as they arrive to campus between Jan. 14-16, and employees will be tested starting on Jan. 11.

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