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Stanford University announced Thursday that students returning from winter break will go back to remote learning for two weeks and will be required to obtain COVID-19 booster shots, joining other mainly East Coast universities as COVID-19 cases rise amid the Omicron variant threat.

When the semester begins Jan. 3, Stanford students will also be required to show proof of a booster shot by Jan. 31, with exceptions for those with medical and religious accommodations. The university will also continue previous restrictions placed on student gatherings for the first two weeks, restricting some to outdoor events and limiting food and drinks.

“We want to minimize disruptions to students’ coursework and also provide as much predictability as possible for both students and instructors,” Provost Persis Drell and Associate Vice Provost Russell Furr said in a message to the campus community. “The current uncertainty around Omicron poses a number of logistical challenges for the start of in-person classes, particularly if students either test positive over the break and cannot travel back to campus on time, or test positive upon arrival and need to isolate.”

At this time it appears no other California universities have announced they will require booster shots or delay a return to in-person learning.

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