Duke University announced Monday that it will require all students and employees to receive a COVID-19 reminder before returning from vacation, as the omicron variant spreads rapidly.
Effective immediately, Duke University, Duke University Health System, and the Private Diagnostic Clinic will require all students and employees to provide proof that they received the COVID-19 booster in January. or as soon as they are eligible under CDC and state guidelines.
Executives at Duke University on Monday cited how the omicron variant had been reported in Durham and is now expected to quickly become the dominant strain of COVID-19. The Durham Department of Public Health announced on Monday that six confirmed cases of omicron have been reported in the county, The News & Observer reported.
The emergence of the omicron variant could also alter the college’s spring semester plans. Duke students are currently scheduled to start the spring semester on January 5th.
“We are closely monitoring national, local and campus conditions in consultation with our infectious disease and public health specialists to determine if we need to make any changes to plans for the start of the spring semester in January,” Sally Kornbluth, Duke’s Marshal, and Kyle Cavanaugh, Duke’s vice president of administration, said in the announcement.
Private schools requiring COVID vaccines
Duke and many other private colleges and universities in North Carolina have required students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend classes. The UNC system did not issue a vaccination warrant for its school but strongly encouraged the shooting, The N&O previously reported.
Duke says that although the omicron variant appears to cause fewer cases of serious illness, it is much more contagious than the delta variant. The university says the rapid spread of omicron on the Durham campus could threaten educational activities.
More than 20,000 faculty and staff and nearly 4,000 students have already received their booster shots, according to the university. Duke says people who have yet to receive the reminder should do so as soon as possible and submit documents to the university.
“These measures will help limit a potential outbreak on our campus and in our community and protect those most vulnerable to this virus,” said Kornblut and Cavanaugh.