Delaware colleges, universities cope with COVID differently

Daniel Larlham Jr. Education, Headlines

 

a woman sitting at a table using a laptop

Delaware colleges and universities are heading into the third spring with COVID-19. Photo by Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom/Pexels.

 

Spring semester for Delaware college-goers will once again be a little different than previous semesters as state schools change COVID-19 protocols following the winter surge caused by the Omicron variant.

 University of Delaware 

UD has updated its plans for spring semester several times, including this week when it said the first week of classes would be virtual. It did the same thing with its January winter classes, partly to test students and staff and stop the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The school also required students and staff to get their COVID-19 booster shot before Jan. 24. Students are required to upload their vaccination records to the school’s website. 

On Jan. 6, UD said it would institute a shortened isolation time for those who test positive for coronavirus from 10 days down to seven, assuming the person has no fever.  Quarantine would begin on the first day of symptoms or upon receiving a positive test and end on the morning of the 8th day. 

Those who need to remain on campus to quarantine will be assigned to isolation housing. Last semester when cases began to spike at the start of the semester, the university warned that isolation housing had run low and encouraged those who test positive to seek isolation outside of the campus. 

UD also updated its masking policy, mandating that masks must be worn by everyone while in indoor spaces on the campus including residence halls. The school also mandated that everyone speaking from a podium in a classroom setting is required to wear a mask. 

Finally, the university announced that prior to returning to campus for the spring semester, all students are required to get tested 48 hours before moving in regardless of vaccination status. The school will accept at-home rapid antigen tests, lab antigen tests, PCR tests and NAAT tests. Results must be uploaded to the school’s health portal before arrival. 

Delaware State University

DSU also will require students, staff and faculty to get a COVID-19 booster shot before returning to campus. 

The university will continue its mandatory testing for the spring semester but in a slightly altered format. 

For those that have been vaccinated and boosted, two tests will be required for the first two weeks of the semester and then once weekly thereafter. Masks will be required for boosted individuals while indoors and when around others outside. 

For those not boosted but still vaccinated, two tests will be required for every week for the entire semester. Masking requirements will be the same as those who are boosted. 

For those unvaccinated because of a religious or medical exemption, two or more tests a week will be required, and masks must be worn at all times. 

DSU also announced that it would delay the return to campus by two weeks. While the semester still began on Jan. 10, classes are being held online until the updated return to campus date. 

Goldey-Beacom

GBC is not currently mandating boosters for the spring semester. 

Unlike UD and DSU, Goldey-Beacom will following CDC’s guidelines for quarantining of five days, assuming there’s so sign of illness.

Classes, which began on Jan. 10, will be held online for the first two weeks of the semester, and could be extended further. 

Masking requirements are also in place on the campus for everyone regardless of vaccination status while indoors. 

Wilmington University 

Wilmington University has not made booster shots mandatory but has continued to mandate masks for all while indoors and when outside around others. 

On Jan 12 the school announced that all classes will be conducted remotely through the first part of the spring semester and in person classes will return to campus beginning March 1.

Delaware Tech

Delaware Technical Community College pushed their spring semester start date off two weeks, with classes starting on Saturday.  The school has also moved its spring break to March 14-18. 

While the school has shifted some of its classes that were intended to be held in-person to online, some of the lab courses in fields such as nursing, HVAC and culinary will still be held in person. 

As of May 1, the school says it will require all students, staff and visitors to show proof of vaccination to be allowed into indoor events, including classes, on campus.

 

 

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