|Below, for your reference, is the full text of President Julio Frenk’s video message (above) to the University of Miami community.|
As 2021 draws to a close, I hope you are taking some time to rest and recharge with your loved ones.
From the start of the pandemic, we have implemented an adaptive and responsive approach to keep our community healthy. At this point in the trajectory of COVID-19, the virus has adapted, becoming more contagious with the omicron variant. We must similarly adapt.
To that end, today I am announcing several specific decisions we have made regarding the spring semester on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses. Students and employees on the Medical Campus should continue to follow guidance from UHealth and the Miller School.
More details for all campuses will be forthcoming next week, including virtual town halls to answer your questions. Nevertheless, I wanted to provide an opportunity for you to make informed plans as early as possible.
First, classes will start on time Tuesday, January 18, 2022. However, we will pivot to remote instruction for the first two weeks of the spring semester, with in-person instruction resuming on January 31. All orientation activities will be held remotely as scheduled. Students in clinical rotations will be permitted to continue as scheduled, subject to requirements of their host sites.
Only staff who have been on campus directly supporting students and faculty should return to on-site work next week as planned, while those who are now working remotely will be expected back in person on January 31.
Proof of a negative COVID test within 48 to 72 hours of arrival on campus will be required for returning students, and residential students will test again upon arrival. If you feel unwell, delay your return to campus until you are better, and we strongly encourage those traveling to have a negative test before making their way to Miami.
Residence and dining halls will be available to students as planned, although all dining will be available for take-out only.
Residential students will be free to move in any time during the remote learning period, at their convenience. We will develop a notification mechanism in order to assure a smooth move-in process.
In addition, indoor activities will be postponed until on-campus instruction begins, and indoor masking will continue for the foreseeable future.
Our definition of “fully vaccinated” now includes receiving the appropriate booster shot, as soon as it is advisable. Students who have not documented that they are fully vaccinated will continue to test twice per week.
Finally, we will adjust our isolation and quarantine protocols according to the most up-to-date guidance from CDC.
We recognize the impact that these decisions have on our students, faculty, and staff. We carefully analyzed all options and concluded, based on the best available evidence, that the chosen course of action will generate the least disruption among available alternatives.
As I reminded us prior to the winter break, we are in a much better place now than we were last year. Evidence shows that vaccination—including boosters—significantly decreases the most dire consequences of the virus. Take this extra time to get your shots. And mask up.
Together, we will continue to navigate changing conditions, to protect each other and the U.