USC to begin next semester remotely amid COVID surge and require booster shots

USC announced Friday that classes will take place remotely for the first week of the next term and that students and staff will be required to show proof of COVID-19 booster shots as soon as they are eligible.

The announcement comes a week after USC officials said they were considering a remote start when classes begin Jan. 10. Earlier this week, seven of the nine University of California undergraduate campuses announced they would begin the next term remotely after UC President Michael V. Drake asked chancellors for each site to implement plans for a safe return amid a serious spread of the Omicron variant. The variant is fueling surges in cases across the state and around the world.

USC residence halls will remain open on Jan. 6, but all students will need to test negative for COVID before moving into campus housing and before in-person instruction resumes.

The university said it would announce deadlines next week for requiring COVID boosters for students, faculty and staff. UC students will also be required to get boosters, though it is up to each site to carry out the mandate. California State University also issued a COVID booster mandate for students.

USC is also delaying its spring new student convocation for about two weeks. It was originally scheduled for Jan. 7.

“Fall was a success at USC, and we remain committed to keeping our campuses safe and continuing in-person instruction this spring,” USC Provost Charles F. Zukoski and USC health officer Sarah Van Orman said in the message to the campus community.

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