Wittenberg University to start spring semester with remote learning today amid recent COVID surge

SPRINGFIELD — Citing the recent and ongoing COVID-19 case spike in the region and across the county, students at Wittenberg University were notified two weeks ago the upcoming spring semester will start with remote learning.

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University’s spring semester will start classes today, January 10, but students will not return to campus until the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, school officials said in a message to campus members Wednesday. In-person learning will begin on January 18.

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“What this means is that students will remain in their current, off-campus residences and that the entire academic program will be delivered remotely January 10-14. Students will then return to campus January 14-16 before the Martin Luther King holiday,” the officials said in the message.

When students return to campus, all residential students will be tested for COVID-19 and employees will be tested on Jan. 11, university officials said.

Further details about the move-in process and testing will be sent by email to campus members in the coming days.

“The physicians on the (COVID Response Team) believe that by beginning the spring semester remotely, any infections stemming from holiday gatherings will be better contained. The employee testing and the student testing times will also allow us to get a baseline on community infection rates prior to beginning in-person learning on Tuesday, January 18,” university officials said in the statement.

“The first weeks of the new semester are a critical time for our community.”

Wittenberg officials also reminded students about the vaccine policy which requires those eligible for a booster shot to get one.

“As a reminder, Wittenberg is now requiring that everyone on the vaccination pathway get their booster as soon as they are eligible. Until eligible, Wittenberg may require that all vaccinated and non-vaccinated students and employees be tested weekly,” university officials said in the message.

We’ll update this story as we learn more.