Enrichment Education

Emory University to start spring semester virtually due to coronavirus surge

Students, faculty and staff protest against proposed cuts to several academic programs outside the administrative offices at Emory University, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in Atlanta. More than 150 students, faculty, and staff demonstrated against the school’s plan to eliminate the educational studies division, the physical education department, the visual arts department, and the journalism program.  (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Story at a glance

  • Emory University in Atlanta will start off its spring 2022 semester remotely.
  • President Gregory L. Fenves cited concerns over the rapidly spreading omicron variant as reason for the delay of in-person classes.
  • Students can still move into residence halls if they wish but are encouraged to delay their return to campus.

Emory University students will start off the spring semester remotely as the country grapples with a nationwide surge of COVID-19 driven by the omicron variant. 

In a letter to students and staff, Emory President Gregory L. Fenves announced Tuesday all undergraduate, graduate and professional courses will start in a “remote format” with the exception of clinical research activities, School of Medicine classes and a few other “select activities.” 

“I understand that beginning the semester with remote learning and teaching is inconvenient, particularly for students and families who have already made travel arrangements, faculty who have planned in-person coursework, and staff who have made countless adjustments to their protocols throughout the past two years,” Fenves said in the letter.

“But we must be adaptable during this surge so we can continue our important work—learning, teaching, creating, and discovering—in the face of this ever-evolving pandemic.” 

In person classes are scheduled to resume on Jan. 31, “should conditions permit,” the letter notes. 


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Emory is the latest university to announce plans to either delay the start of classes or begin the spring semester remotely as COVID-19 cases rise across the country. 

Harvard University recently announced the bulk of classes and campus activities would be done remotely for the month of January as the pandemic’s most recent surge intensifies. Smith College, Columbia University, Duke University, Northwestern University and others have all announced plans to start spring semester remotely. 

The number of new cases based on a seven-day average surpassed 267,000 a day, according to The New York Times COVID-19 tracker.


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