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UIC, Northwestern announce students will shift to two weeks of remote learning after winter break due to Omicron concerns

The move echoes a similar move announced earlier this month by DePaul University; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will switch to remote learning for one week after the holiday break.

Northwestern University in Evanston
Northwestern University in Evanston
Sun-Times Media STM

The University of Illinois Chicago and Northwestern University announced Monday that students will shift to remote learning for two weeks after returning from holiday break.

The move is in response to the expected spread of the highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant following holiday travel.

“With the omicron variant fueling a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across Illinois and the nation, and a likely surge in the coming weeks based on the speed of transmissibility, holiday travel and gatherings, we decided to start the spring semester with two weeks of online instruction,” UIC officials said in an announcement issued Monday to faculty, staff and students.

Exceptions will be made for the health sciences colleges, labs, clinics, internships and other classes that cannot be offered virtually.

It puts the school in line with DePaul University, which made a similar announcement earlier this month.

Both schools are recommending booster shots but have not mandated them.

Northwestern also announced Monday it will briefly switch to remote learning after returning from winter break. The school is requiring students, faculty and staff get a booster shot.

Northwestern officials attributed the move to “the fast spread of the Omicron variant and guidance from our medical experts.”

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign also announced Monday it would switch to remote learning for one week following the holiday break. The school, along with its Chicago counterpart, will require negative COVID-19 tests before allowing students to return to class.

The University of Chicago and Loyola University Chicago do not plan to institute remote learning when students return after the holiday break, however both schools are also requiring booster shots.