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NKU is postponing the start of classes until January 18, due to COVID infections at record highs

NKU President Ashish Vaidya issued the following alert, postponing the start of classes until January 18:

“Current regional case information is eye-opening, with record infections of 120 per 100,000 per day and higher throughout Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The regional transmission rate has risen to 1.3, which is also as high as we have seen.

“In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, we will delay the start of classes for spring by one week. All NKU classes will begin on Tuesday, January 18.

“With that change, our spring schedule matches most of the other Kentucky universities’ start dates. To account for the lost week, final examinations will occur the week after commencement. Summer sessions will also need to be adjusted. We will release a new, comprehensive spring and summer academic calendar soon.

Students: The University will open at noon Tuesday. We are anticipating your return for spring semester, and we are taking every precaution to make sure we are able to provide you the highest quality education in the safest environment possible by delaying classes one week. For our residence hall students, we are delaying move-in day until Friday, January 14. Anyone who needs to move in sooner will be accommodated, and a message with further details is forthcoming from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Eddie Howard.

President Vaidya

Staff: Campus will open starting at noon Tuesday. We are asking supervisors to consider whether there are opportunities for more staff to temporarily work from home, keeping in mind that there will be students on campus who require services.

Faculty: For the initial two weeks after the January 18 start, we recommend that faculty include fewer in-person activities in their classes. There is no prohibition against in-person classes and we do encourage engaging with students as possible. Note also that we are not at this time approving changes in course modalities. We are asking for short-term adjustments perhaps replacing some in-person activities with hybrid options in order to temporarily de-densify campus.

“We are considering additional mitigations including potential alterations to dining and other services. If there are any more changes, those will be announced later this week.

“It appears that illnesses from infection with Omicron are, at least for those who are vaccinated and boosted, significantly milder than prior variants. However, Omicron remains dangerous to the unvaccinated and those who haven’t received a third dose of the vaccines. We encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are able to do so. The vaccines have proven extraordinarily safe and highly effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness. The indoor mask mandate will remain in effect.

“Experiences in other parts of the world and in the U.S. suggest the Omicron surge could be over by the end of the month. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay safe and avoid situations where others are not being safe.

“If you have questions or comments, please email Matt Cecil at provost@nku.edu. Matt will be conferring with the COVID Preparedness Team on a regular basis and will provide additional updates.”

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One Comment

  1. Frank T. Vieth says:

    “The indoor mask mandate will remain in effect.” That statement should be followed by “Enter at your own risk.” The indoor “mask mandate” is a cynical ploy used by the NKU administration to give the appearance of being a concerned citizen under advisement of their legal team.
    This is obvious to anyone who uses the Rec Center gym. Signs and electronic billboards throughout the facility state; “Masks are required at all times and are to be worn properly. Those in violation will be asked .to leave.” Electronic billboards even graphically illustrate all of the ineffective ways to wear a mask for those students with limited reading skills. The most popular style of mask wearing is the chin diaper or the “you can make me wear a mask but you can’t make me wear it properly” contingency. On any given day, less than 50% of the Rec Center patrons are wearing a mask properly if at all unless you count wearing a mask around your neck. There is no attempt at any time by any Rec Center staff to correct patrons in violation of their own publicly stated mask requirement.
    Through this inaction, NKU is empowering those who think it is their right to freely infect others with a potentially deadly and highly infectious Omicron strain of Covid and are complicit in contributing to the havoc on our health care providers, hospitals and community health.
    Patrons of the Rec Center who are 60 years and older with underlying health conditions have been led to believe that NKU has you protected. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    I wrote to NKU’s president six months ago as the current covid surge was just beginning, I received this scripted reassurance from his secretary : “Thank you for contacting me about students not wearing masks as the rec center. I am sharing your email with the Vice President of Student Affairs, who will review your message with CRC leadership and make certain that the situation is addressed. In the meantime, please be assured that the safety and well being of the entire campus community is our top priority.”
    I have also notified in writing the Director of Campus Recreation who declined to discuss my concerns in writing which I can only assume was done on the advice of NKU’s legal team.
    Members of the Rec Center are members of an affiliation who pay a membership fee – not just shoppers at Kroger’s – and as such, have certain legal rights and responsibilities. Many patrons of the Rec Center share these concerns that continue to fall on deaf ears. Absolutely nothing has been done to discourage this arrogant, selfish, ignorant and dangerous behavior.
    One has to wonder, what is the real purpose of having and posting a public statement requiring mask wearing and then completely ignore the need to enforce it?
    The joke is on anyone who believes NKU ” has the safety and well being of the entire campus community is our top priority.” The problem is this joke could have potentially deadly consequences.

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