LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Despite surging COVID-19 cases across Los Angeles County, USC plans to continue in-person classes for the spring semester, but the university indicated today that a temporary remote-learning start to the semester is a possibility.
In a campus message, university officials said they are closely monitoring the changing conditions associated with the pandemic ``and preparing to adapt as needed.''
``We have no plans to go online at this moment or having a remote spring semester,'' according to the university. ``We are planning to continue in-person instruction for spring 2022. As part of these plans, like many universities, we are considering the possibility of delaying our in-person return with a temporary remote start in January.''
Such a delay is only a possibility being reviewed in response to the current COVID spike, which is likely being driven by the Omicron variant that was first detected in South Africa and has quickly spread around the globe.
Health officials say the COVID variant appears to spread very quickly -- even faster than the earlier Delta variant -- and can readily infect both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. But there is no evidence Omicron leads to more severe illness than other variants, particularly among vaccinated people.
USC officials said they would send out an update about spring semester plans ``in the coming days.''
On Friday, the university issued a message urging students and staff to take health precautions over the holidays. Officials also said the university ``is likely'' to require booster shots for those taking part in in- person activities.
``Over the holiday season, please protect yourself and your loved ones by masking indoors, testing regularly and staying home when sick,'' according to the university. ``For those remaining on or near campus, USC COVID- 19 testing is available on a modified winter break schedule during the next two weeks.''