American universities reimpose COVID restrictions over omicron variant: 'Reminiscent' of March 2020


Several colleges and universities across America are reimposing restrictions on their campuses due to the recent rise in the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Several universities, such as Georgetown, George Washington and Cornell, have decided to either cancel all indoor events or hold them online, among other restrictions.

Georgetown University, for example, is restricting all indoor campus dining to a "grab-and-go" model, where students pick up their food in a dining hall and eat in their private room. The university is also closing fitness centers, and has canceled all events if they cannot be held outdoors or online.

Princeton University has taken a similar approach and announced on their website that all final exams will either be given remotely or, if a faculty member chooses, the exam can be delivered as a "take-home" test. Additionally, from Dec. 16 through Jan. 7, all indoor gatherings with food and where face masks cannot be worn will be canceled or postponed.

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American universities reimpose COVID restrictions over omicron variant: 'Reminiscent' of March 2020

Cornell University West Campus (iStock)

Cornell University announced on Tuesday that they'd be shifting into "Alert Level Red," which includes canceling all university activities involving undergraduates, closing libraries to students, closing fitness centers, and moving all final exams to a remote format. The university also canceled the Dec. 18 ceremony honoring December graduates.

Durham Tech University in North Carolina announced they will begin the spring 2022 semester by reducing classroom capacity to 75% for social distancing purposes. 

Meanwhile, the University of Wyoming has announced that their mask policy will continue into the spring 2022 semester, which requires mask wearing in buildings where 6-foot social distancing is not possible.

Many universities across the United States have also announced that they will require a coronavirus booster shot as well.

American universities reimpose COVID restrictions over omicron variant: 'Reminiscent' of March 2020

Prospective students tour the Georgetown University campus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

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Syracuse, George Washington, Northeastern, Notre Dame, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and more have announced booster shots will be required for all eligible students beginning in the spring 2022 semester.

One university, however, is planning on rolling back one of their pandemic requirements. The University of Montevallo in Alabama announced on Dec. 9 that if current trends regarding coronavirus continue, they would become a "mask-optional" campus during the spring 2022 semester.

American universities reimpose COVID restrictions over omicron variant: 'Reminiscent' of March 2020

University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana (iStock)

Patrick Burland, a student at George Washington University, told Fox News that the new restrictions being based off of a "slight" increase in cases is concerning. 

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"I think it's concerning that, you know, in a population that's 98% vaccinated, mandated to do testing every two weeks, mandated to wear a mask indoors, that they're going to justify going online based off of, you know, a slight increase in cases," Burland said.

Burland also said that it appears "we're headed down the track" of going back to virtual learning.

"I think it's very concerning the language that they're using to communicate fewer restrictions. It's very reminiscent of how it was in March 2020," Burland said. "It is concerning that we may, you know, we're headed down the track, it appears of going online due to this omicron scare."