Updated: Apr 25
Belmont’s campus and classes will once again go virtual for the first two weeks of the upcoming semester due to the rapid rise of the COVID-19 omicron variant.
Classes will meet online through Jan. 18 — the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and student residence halls will remain closed until Jan. 15, university Provost Thomas Bruns said in an email Tuesday.
The change of plans comes barely a week before the spring semester is set to begin on Jan. 5.
Meanwhile, new COVID-19 cases have spiked in Nashville’s Davidson County, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health.
The surge comes just weeks after the first case of omicron was identified in the U.S. on Dec. 1. On that day, 176 new cases were reported in Davidson County, but that figure jumped almost 1,000 on Friday. About 650 cases were reported in the county on Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 95% of new Tennessee infections are from the variant, which is more transmissible than the original virus.
Belmont’s administration recommends that all students get their COVID-19 vaccines and booster, though they are not mandated by the university. About 73% of Belmont’s student body received a COVID-19 vaccine as of the fall semester’s end.
“Please continue to stay diligent in your COVID-19 safety measures — wear a mask, stay home if you feel sick and get your COVID-19 vaccine — or if you have already been vaccinated and are eligible, get your booster,” said Burns in Tuesday’s email.
The university will release additional information soon, Burns said.
This article was written by Anna Jackson.