NKU delays start of spring semester by a week

Surge in COVID cases prompts decision, move-in also delayed

HIGHLAND hEIGHTS, Ky. (WTVQ) – Because of the surge in COVID cases across Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area, Northern Kentucky University is delaying the start of the spring semester from Jan. 10 to Dec. 18, President Ashish Vaidya announced Tuesday.

In an e-mail to stakeholders, Vaidya said:

Dear Campus Community:

I hope everyone had a good break and safe new year.

Current regional case information is eye-opening, with record infections of 120 per 100,000 per day and higher throughout Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The regional transmission rate has risen to 1.3, which is also as high as we have seen.

In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, we will delay the start of classes for spring by one week. All NKU classes will begin on Tuesday, January 18.

With that change, our spring schedule matches most of the other Kentucky universities’ start dates. To account for the lost week, final examinations will occur the week after commencement. Summer sessions will also need to be adjusted. We will release a new, comprehensive spring and summer academic calendar soon.

Students: The University will open at 12 p.m.  Tuesday, January 4. We are anticipating your return for spring semester, and we are taking every precaution to make sure we are able to provide you the highest quality education in the safest environment possible by delaying classes one week. For our residence hall students, we are delaying move-in day until Friday, January 14. Anyone who needs to move in sooner will be accommodated, and a message with further details is forthcoming from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Eddie Howard.

Staff: Campus will open starting today at 12pm (Tuesday, January 4th). We are asking supervisors to consider whether there are opportunities for more staff to temporarily work from home, keeping in mind that there will be students on campus who require services.

Faculty: For the initial two weeks after the January 18 start, we recommend that faculty include fewer in-person activities in their classes. There is no prohibition against in-person classes and we do encourage engaging with students as possible. Note also that we are not at this time approving changes in course modalities. We are asking for short-term adjustments perhaps replacing some in-person activities with hybrid options in order to temporarily de-densify campus.

We are considering additional mitigations including potential alterations to dining and other services. If there are any more changes, those will be announced later this week.

It appears that illnesses from infection with Omicron are, at least for those who are vaccinated and boosted, significantly milder than prior variants. However, Omicron remains dangerous to the unvaccinated and those who haven’t received a third dose of the vaccines. We encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are able to do so. The vaccines have proven extraordinarily safe and highly effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness. The indoor mask mandate will remain in effect.

Experiences in other parts of the world and in the U.S. suggest the Omicron surge could be over by the end of the month. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay safe and avoid situations where others are not being safe.

If you have questions or comments, please email Matt Cecil at provost@nku.edu. Matt will be conferring with the COVID Preparedness Team on a regular basis and will provide additional updates.

Sincerely,

Ashish Vaidya

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