Colleges Get Hit with Omicron Variant

Sophia Pisano, Staff Writer

On November 24th, 2021, the outbreak of the Omicron variant in the United States was reported to the World Health Organization. Within one month, the variant rapidly spread across the entire country, shutting down schools and colleges and leading to the creation of stricter travel restrictions. With cases rising, many students are apprehensive of returning to online schooling. Students across the whole world struggled with remote schooling since March of 2020 and last year’s school year during COVID. The emergence of the omicron variant has left many people fearful of what will come next. 

Colleges across the United States are starting to require vaccines and booster shots, stricter mask mandates and new social distancing rules, along with hinting at the possibility of students going back to online classes. As of the beginning of December 2021, Syracuse University declared that all students and staff members will require the COVID-19 vaccine along with the booster shots before the second semester begins. The University of Massachusetts was one of the first universities to start to enforce the COVID-19 booster shot requirement for their students and staff members, believing that the vaccine will prevent the spread of the Omicron variant among their campuses. 

Cornell University in Ithaca, New York shut down their campus on December 7th, 2021, and moved its final exams for the first semester to online. It was reported that over 400 students tested positive with the new variant of COVID-19 over the span of two days. Colleges all over the United States are preparing to go online until further notice due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant. 

Online school made many students struggle with their mental health and their ability to learn and retain information. Since many schools and colleges in the United States are going virtual, the thought of Ward Melville going virtual leaves numerous students nervous.

The COVID-19 pandemic deprived children, teenagers and college students of a normal school experience. Now with the Omicron variant’s spread, it is of the utmost importance that people are considerate of others and wear their masks to prevent the spread of this virus.