Miami University asks students not to rush back as COVID-19 surge continues

Miami University officials announced to students and school families earlier this week they are urging residence hall students - and those living off-campus in Oxford - to not return too early prior to the resumption of classes on Jan. 24. School officials cite the recent surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant for the recommendation. (File Photo\Journal-News)

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Miami University officials announced to students and school families earlier this week they are urging residence hall students - and those living off-campus in Oxford - to not return too early prior to the resumption of classes on Jan. 24. School officials cite the recent surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant for the recommendation. (File Photo\Journal-News)

Classes resume Jan. 24

OXFORD — So far during the current COVID-19 Omicron surge the school year calendar is favoring Miami University, which has its students still on winter break away from its campuses until later this month.

But Miami officials recently sent a notice to its students and their families announcing some changes are coming as the pandemic’s variant surges toward the two-year, virus onset anniversary in March.

Among those is a rare recommendation to residence hall and off-campus students to not move back to the Oxford main campus too early, prior to classes re-starting on Jan. 24.

“We know that many students are anxious to return to Oxford as soon as they can. However, as the situation with COVID continues to evolve, we recommend that off-campus students delay their return until closer to the start of the spring term,” wrote Miami officials earlier this week.

Unlike some area universities such as the University of Cincinnati, which recently announced its switch to all remote learning with the possible resumption of live classes on Jan. 24, Miami is currently planning to conduct in-person classes starting on that same day but with a mandatory mask policy.

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“Given the highly infectious nature of the Omicron variant and following guidance from the CDC, we will continue our mask requirement during winter term and into spring semester. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape during the spring semester and will re-evaluate this policy in March,” said school officials.

Classes for Miami’s regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown, which do not feature student residence housing, will also begin on Jan. 24.

In August, Miami officials told all students and staff on all campuses they must be vaccinated by Nov. 22 or be granted approved exemptions.

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Other changes include a strong recommendation for all students and staff to get vaccine boosters prior to classes resuming.

And some live events scheduled for this month may be impacted.

“Due to the number of increasing cases and hospitalizations in Ohio, Miami will likely move many of its January non-classroom events to a virtual format or reschedule them for a later date. Please check the university events calendar for updates,” said officials.

“We know there is a feeling of uncertainty and possibly frustration as we start another new year with the presence of COVID-19, but Miamians are resilient. You have proven this over and over again, and our high rate of compliance with our safety protocols and our vaccination rates illustrate your perseverance in keeping us all healthy together.”

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