SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — Due to the increase in COVID cases because of the omicron variant, Syracuse University has announced a shift at the start of the spring semester. Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote in a letter to students, families, faculty, and staff that in-person classes will be on January 24 instead of January 18, as in the original schedule.
Spring break is still the week of March 13 to March 20 as originally scheduled. Earlier this month, SU announced that booster shots will be required for students, faculty, and staff when they return from the holiday break, or when they are eligible to receive the shot.
Just last week, the Syracuse men’s basketball program had to pause activities and postpone games after numerous players tested positive for COVID.
Below is the full letter Chancellor Syverud sent out Wednesday:
Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:
I write to you today to share important information regarding the Spring 2022 semester. Given the sharp increase in COVID cases, the rapid spread of the omicron variant and warnings from public health officials that the first three weeks of January will be the most challenging of this surge, the University will delay the start of the spring semester by one week. In-person classes will now begin on Jan. 24. Spring break will remain as previously scheduled: March 13-20.
I am optimistic for the spring semester because we have done this before. Syracuse University has safely and successfully held three in-person semesters of instruction in the midst of the pandemic. Each semester, the circumstances have been different. Each semester, the resilience of our Orange community has remained the same. Each semester, we have made decisions based on science and the best public health guidance. I am confident in our ability to do it again.
What is different for this upcoming semester is that we have booster shots that are proven to be both safe and effective. Vaccinations were key to our ability to enjoy a robust in-person fall semester. Booster shots will be critical to maintaining that same experience for the spring semester. As we announced earlier this month, booster shots will be required by the start of the new semester, or as soon as you are eligible to do so. We know that breakthrough cases of COVID will continue to occur. But individuals who have received a booster of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have significantly more antibodies than those who haven’t yet been boosted. These increased antibody levels result in greater efficacy and a significantly reduced risk of serious illness. This means our students, faculty and staff can be back on our campus. This means we can enjoy the traditions and activities we cherish. This means the University can continue to support the Central New York community in its efforts to combat the spread of COVID.
In the coming days and weeks, you will receive communications from University leaders with information and resources to return to campus and begin the spring semester. Please continue to visit Syracuse.edu/staysafe for the most up-to-date public health guidance.
I wish you a safe and healthy holiday season.
Sincerely,Chancellor Kent Syverud