Salem State Begins Spring Semester With Remote Classes

·2 min read

SALEM, MA — While classes are back in session at Salem State University this week the classrooms on campus will be empty.

The school will hold all classes online through at least Jan. 30 amid the omicron spike in coronavirus cases.

"As we now approach our third year dealing with COVID-19, we remain committed to maintaining a working and learning environment that is as safe as possible for the Viking community," President John Keenan said of the decision. "With the continued and rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in our region, a key element to our success involves de-densifying the campus for the remainder of January while minimizing disruption to academic progress and campus operations."

The school said a decision of whether to return to in-person classes on Jan. 31 will be made using the latest public health and safety data.

"Please know that this decision is not made lightly," Keenan said. "We know that most are eager to resume a sense of normalcy. We are, too. But the health and safety of our community must be our top priority."

Moving back to residence halls began this weekend on a staggered basis. Students are required to provide an isolation or campus departure plan prior to arriving back on campus. Those students who live within 200 miles of the school will be required to leave the campus for their isolation or quarantine should they test positive for the virus.

All students and staff on campus are required to have a coronavirus vaccination and booster shot if eligible.

"I know this isn’t the way that any of us wanted to begin 2022," Keenan said. "Fortunately, our campus has successfully mitigated COVID-19 up until this point. I am hopeful that these strategies will help our campus community get through this surge as safely as possible and that we will be able to return to more normalcy in the near future."

(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at Scott.Souza@Patch.com. Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

This article originally appeared on the Salem Patch

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