Omicron and the Spring Semester: COVID Operations Update


A message from President Elam about the Omicron variant and Oxy's current plans for the spring semester.

Dear Oxy Community,

We hope that you are finding time to relax and rejuvenate over this holiday. Nonetheless, we recognize that many might have concerns and questions regarding the current spread of the Omicron variant. Consequently, despite being closed this week for the beginning of winter break, we felt it was important to provide the community with a brief update on our latest assumptions for the spring semester, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 18. The key headlines we wish to convey are:

  • As of today, we do not anticipate delaying students’ scheduled return to campus, nor do we expect to be fully remote when classes begin
  • If you are eligible, please get your vaccine booster as soon as possible over the break, as communicated last week. We are requiring the booster for students, faculty and staff.
  • Expect further updates early in January as we learn more about the potential impacts of the Omicron variant.

The Oxy community’s commitment to health and safety--following masking guidance and becoming a fully (99%+) vaccinated campus–has resulted in a successful fall semester. We have every intention to continue with the in-person educational experience for our students this spring. At the same time, we understand that information about Omicron is changing daily, so we must remain flexible and vigilant as we plan for the start of the spring semester. 

We understand that some other institutions have recently made the decision to start their semester online. Many, if not all, of these schools were  scheduled to start classes in the first week in January and are now moving their start dates for in person teaching forward to the week of January 17th. Notably, this is the same week that Oxy was already scheduled to begin our spring classes. 

Over the next two weeks, we will continue to assess conditions. We will monitor carefully the evolution of the Omicron variant and will remain attuned to the latest public health guidance in order to determine what additional safety precautions, if any, may be prudent and necessary as the semester begins. Please keep an eye out for additional updates from the COVID Operations Group in the next 10-15 days, and before classes begin. Community members are encouraged to submit any comments or questions to oxy@oxy.edu, an inbox staffed by the Marketing & Communications team.

We wish you much enjoyment with friends and family over this holiday break. Please remember to take all precautions to stay safe and healthy.

All the best,
President Harry Elam

COVID Operations Group (COG)

Harry J. Elam, Jr., President
Sharla Fett, Faculty Council President, Professor of American History
Rob Flot, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Amos Himmelstein, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Nora Kahn, General Counsel
Marty Sharkey, Vice President of Communications & Institutional Initiatives
Wendy Sternberg, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College
James Uhrich, Vice President for Information Technology Services & Chief Information Office