With Omicron’s divergence on the rise around the world — hospitals overwhelmed, flights canceled and colleges changed plans to return to campus — Tufts students remain unsure of what the spring semester will look like. after Transfer the finals online after December 17Tufts left students worried about what to expect this spring.
Other colleges have made announcements of how they plan to conduct classes in January. Harvard University has moved the winter course – set to begin January 14 – online; Columbia moved the first two weeks of spring online; Yale University postponed its start date and made lessons virtual in the first two weeks of teaching; Duke has moved her classes – originally scheduled to start on January 5 – online until at least January 8. Despite these advertisements, some Boston area schools, such as Northeastern, have Committed to a personal start for spring 2022.
Tufts University students haven’t received nearly enough guidance from university officials about what to expect this spring. in a statment To The Boston Herald, a university spokesperson said Tufts University is “still in the process of analyzing the data and considering our options.” The statement came after university officials told the Tufts community on December 16 that they expect “to be completely in-person for the spring semester.” While the world still struggles to understand omicron, with new data released about its prevalence and danger almost daily, time is of the essence for students preparing to board flights — to Tufts and abroad.
While many schools that have made announcements about their method of teaching for the spring semester have started earlier than Tufts, with in-person classes scheduled to begin January 19, students studying abroad—many of whom start early—remain In limbo.
Many students planning to study abroad leave in the first week of January and therefore deserve immediate insight into their semester plans. Tufts has not canceled any programs amid concerns about the omicron variant, unlike Princeton, which canceled Most Spring 2022 study abroad programs due to a spike in COVID-19 cases globally, including those in France and the UK – two popular destinations for Tufts students studying abroad this spring.
The Tufts-in-Paris programs began January 5, yet the US State Department placed France on “Level 4” of its travel advisory: Don’t travel. Tufts-in-London classes start as early as January 10, however the UK is also on ‘Tier 4’ travel advice. Moreover, London is currently the epicenter of the omicron variant, rated one in 10 Londoners contracted the COVID-19 virus as of December 19. With the unprecedented levels of COVID-19 transmission present at the destinations of many Tufts students studying abroad this semester, Tufts has remained silent.
Despite regular communication from the Tufts Office of Global Education and some Tufts programs for students who plan to study abroad throughout the fall semester, the Office of Global Education has not sent out any communication to all students studying abroad in the spring since December 21. The email sent by university officials confirmed that Tufts University still plans to move forward with its Tufts Study Abroad programs for the spring, although they cautioned students to expect a mix of in-person and virtual classes. Amid the pandemic posing unexpected challenges to international travel, the Global Education office has been closed and stated that it will not answer inquiries between December 23 and January 4 – although many students are ready to leave for their programs abroad by January 4. For students studying at Tufts University in London, the office was closed from December 18 and will remain so until January 5, with an email sent to students on December 17 stating that the office “will not be available to answer questions or give information during that time” . Tufts University hardly expects students to maintain a “flexible and adaptable attitude” while administrators are unavailable to address the confusion and anxiety surrounding studying abroad.
Unprecedented times require unprecedented levels of communication and guidance from the university, but neither students studying abroad nor those studying at the Medford/Somerville campus have received appropriate information and guidance. Tufts University must provide students studying abroad with information in a timely manner so that they can provide accommodation, including canceling flights, registering for classes at Tufts University, and finding accommodation.
Of course, so do Tufts University students studying on the Medford/Somerville campus deserve an insight into what the spring of 2022 will look like. This new format raises questions that must be answered immediately. Will we need to remove campus density and social distance again, because of omicron highly transmissible nature? Will the lessons go online? What will isolation look like this spring, especially given changes to CDC guidelines that Reducing the recommended isolation time For infected individuals? These questions cannot be left unanswered. Tufts University management owes it to its students to make a decision and provide information about what the spring semester will look like.