As Clemson University continues its return in person for the spring semester on Jan. 12, it is not without any changes due to the Omicron variant – masks are required in all university buildings once again.
The change comes after an announcement made by the university shortly before the spring semester on Jan. 3.
“Clemson has seen a significant increase in viral infection rate over the past two weeks, mirroring the COVID-19 resurgence both locally and nationally,” said Lior Rennert, the university’s lead epidemiologist.
The safety measure will be in place for at least the first three weeks of class, according to the university. Officials will then review the measure near the end of January.
Face masks are required inside all university buildings across the state, except while alone in private spaces or while actively eating or drinking, according to the university’s policy.
COVID-19 testing requirements will remain in place for students and staff throughout the spring semester, which now requires weekly testing for both groups. Previously, employees only needed to be tested every other week.
In addition to the newest university mask policies and campus data updates, Clemson’s COVID-19 Dashboard will continue to be updated twice a week with data on positive cases, student isolation and quarantine, and cumulative testing results before and after in-person instruction.
“Masks have proven to be an effective measure of controlling transmission of the virus, which is especially important during periods of high incidence,” said Rennert. “As always, the University will continue to monitor COVID-19 and evaluate and adjust mitigation strategies based on positivity rates as we move forward.” Early studies indicate that the Omicron variant may be less severe but more transmissible, which may affect the university’s response going forward.