After their past three semesters were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brandeis students were greeted with an exceptionally conventional start to the 2021-22 school year. However, this normalcy did not last long, as nationwide infections of the novel Omicron variant surged.. On Jan. 7, President Ron Liebowitz sent an email to Brandeis students, faculty, and staff to announce that the school would temporarily be going remote.

In his email, Liebowitz detailed a plan for the first two weeks of the spring semester, beginning Jan. 16 and effective through Jan. 31. This plan involves fully remote classes, grab-and-go meals, and an earlier deadline to the booster shot requirement that was previously announced.

Students were given the choice to move back onto campus on Jan. 16, as anticipated, or choose a different time within the two-week remote learning period and take their classes from any location. In an effort to limit possible infections on campus, Brandeis also enacted a policy that requires students to submit a negative test no earlier than 24 hours before their departure for campus.

Brandeis anticipates resuming in-person instruction on Feb. 1, along with reopening dining halls to sit down eating. Liebowitz is hopeful that the school will handle the Omicron variant well, as “the evidence that Omicron typically results in mild or asymptomatic illness in those who are vaccinated and boosted is reassuring, particularly given our community’s extraordinarily high vaccination rate.” Liebowitz concluded his email by thanking the Brandeis community. “The resilience everyone has displayed has inspired us time and again, and we hope you are inspired by each other as well. Thank you for all you bring to Brandeis.”

For the latest information on COVID-19 at Brandeis, visit Brandeis’ Covid response webpage.