Dozens of universities are returning to online courses or delaying the spring semester amid an increase in omicron cases nationwide.
David Armstrong, president of St. Thomas University, said the school’s Miami Gardens campus would be “absolutely” open for in-person classes on Jan. 10 to welcome students again.
“We are committed to having an in-person education, to having fully engaged people, [and] at the same time, making sure we’re keeping our most vulnerable safe and following our protocols to make sure we’re keeping exposures and all that stuff to a minimum, ”Armstrong told Fox News Digital on Sunday.
“A full in-person college experience is the best for our students on a personal, social, health, physical, emotional and spiritual level. “
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St. Thomas University briefly went virtual in the spring and summer of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, but returned to in-person classes in the fall.
Armstrong noted that St. Thomas University has some advantages over large public schools, namely that it sits in sunny Florida where people can spend more time outdoors and has a relatively large population. small of about 1,800 undergraduates.
“We have extremely dedicated people who want to give our students the full experience, and we’re very diligent and vigilant about contact tracing and adherence to protocols. That’s how you do it,” Armstrong said.
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“All that being said, if something takes a horrible turn, we’re ready to go virtual, but why do it now when we know we can do all of our other protocols and still have it in person, and give students bang for their buck? ?
About 15 miles south of St. Thomas University, the University of Miami announced this week that it will switch to distance learning courses for the first two weeks of the spring semester.
Several other schools have also announced their intention to log on temporarily, including duke university, American University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, Northwestern University and Belmont University.
Some schools have suggested that the online classroom hub could be expanded. Harvard University told students and staff in a memo that it would resume classes in person at the end of January, “public health conditions permitting.”
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Armstrong said on Sunday that he and the school board were not going to make decisions “based on panic, politics or shyness.”
“We were going to make decisions based on what was best for our students to receive a full college experience while ensuring the safety of our most vulnerable,” Armstrong said.