NIU to start spring semester classes online due to omicron COVID-19 surge

DeKALB – On Friday, Northern Illinois University announced that due to the surge of the omicron variant of COVID-19, the first week of classes for the spring semester will be online.

In the announcement, NIU stated classes Jan. 18 through Jan. 21 will be online for all undergraduate and graduate classes, as well as NIU Law School classes and classes taught outside of the DeKalb campus.

The announcement referred to moving classes online as the university taking “appropriate actions to help protect the health of our community during the surge of the omicron variant.”

All residence halls, campus services, research spaces and university offices will continue to be open and operational. Students who are scheduled to participate in student teaching, practicum or clinical experiences should plan for those to be in person unless communicated otherwise by their program coordinator.

Students living in residence halls will be required to take a COVID-19 test at Holmes Student Center before they will be permitted to move into their residence halls. Students will be required to quarantine in their rooms until they receive their results.

Surveillance testing will take place as scheduled for those required to test during the week of Jan. 18. NIU has been offering surveillance testing, which is when people regardless of symptoms are tested weekly to better determine community spread, all year.

The week’s results will be posted to the online NIU COVID-19 Dashboard by 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23. The results will be used to determine the on-campus surveillance positivity rate.

If the on-campus surveillance positivity rate is 8% or higher, NIU faculty will determine and communicate if their individual classes will meet in person or online for the week of Jan. 24, as well as any subsequent week where the on-campus surveillance positivity rate is 8% or higher. If the number falls below 8%, the university will proceed with in-person classes.

The university also recommends getting a booster vaccine as soon as possible, monitoring symptoms closely and continuing masking and social distancing. Students and faculty are asked to not attend in-person activities if they are not feeling well.

In the announcement, NIU’s Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Ingram said measures that are being taken now “are intended to help protect our community and reduce disruptions to our learning, living and working environments at this time.”

“As Huskies have done throughout the nearly two years that [COVID-19] has impacted our lives, we must continue to respect and care for one another and take seriously our responsibilities to support the health and well-being of our community,” she wrote. “We deeply appreciate your continued patience and flexibility and look forward to being able to resume the traditional activities and experiences we all look forward to each spring.”