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Penn State students to begin spring semester in person

Students at the University of Pennsylvania at Penn State and other universities across the Commonwealth will begin the spring semester in person, the university announced Thursday night.

“On the advice of the Pennsylvania State COVID-19 Operations Control Center, the leadership of Pennsylvania State has determined that conditions at this time do not warrant a transition to remote learning and other activities to begin the classroom.” Officials said in a statement.

Classes will resume on January 10th.

Pennsylvania implemented a Vaccine mandate for staff and students earlier this year. Unvaccinated individuals must take weekly COVID tests, and everyone must wear masks indoors.

“With these measures in place, along with hospitalization data and what we’re learning about omicron, we believe we can safely but carefully return to classes and on-campus activities as planned,” said Penn State President Eric Barron.

Officials suggested that students take a COVID test, which the school will provide, before returning to campus. Students who have not taken a pre-test will be ‘encouraged’ to take an express test when they arrive on campus.

“The university will continue to closely monitor conditions around University Park and the Commonwealth Campus and will change its plans if necessary,” the statement said. “Additional and/or improved protocols may be added in the coming weeks to reflect the conditions surrounding the omicron coronavirus variant.”

Pennsylvania’s announcement comes on the heels The University of Pittsburgh’s decision to start the spring semester remotely Pete officials cited the increasing case numbers in Allegheny County and the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant as reasons for the changes.

Between December 29 and 30, Allegheny County reported 1,980 new cases of coronavirus — a new record for the county. according to Data from the Pennsylvania Department of HealthCenter County — where Pennsylvania State University’s main campus is located and has a population of more than 162,000 — reported 201 COVID cases on December 29.

Penn State officials said students who show symptoms should get tested, isolate themselves from others and notify the school’s contract search team. Officials said they have “extensive quarantine and isolation space for students on campus,” but are “strongly encouraging” students and faculty to get enhanced footage of COVID-19.

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