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Washington U. to start spring semester online

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ST. LOUIS — Washington University students will spend an additional two weeks at home due to the rampaging coronavirus, university officials announced Thursday.

Spring semester classes on the Danforth Campus, which start Jan. 18, will be held online until Jan. 31, giving the university time to determine "what mitigation efforts will be necessary when students return to campus and to minimize potential disruptions to academic activities," a statement from the university says. Students can begin moving back into on-campus housing on Jan. 28.

The announcement was made on the same day that St. Louis-area hospitals notched a record high number of COVID-related admissions. The St. Louis Department of Health reported a seven-day average positivity rate of 24%, the highest since March of 2020.

Washington U. will also require that students take a COVID test before they arrive on campus; the school is mailing test kits to any student with a U.S. address. The statement also encourages all eligible staff and students to receive booster shots, but is not yet mandating them. St. Louis University announced Wednesday that it will require the booster dose.

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