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COVID-19 booster shots will be required for all eligible students and staff at University of California campuses, and chancellors were told Tuesday to come up with plans for a safe return from winter break that could include remote instruction, as coronavirus cases increase throughout the state due to the highly infectious Omicron variant.

UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego have already announced a two-week delay to in-person classes after winter break.

“The emergence of this new and fast-moving variant, coupled with student travel to and from campus and the prevalence of gatherings over the holidays, will present our campuses with a unique set of public health challenges as we begin the New Year,” UC President Michael V. Drake said in a letter sent to the chancellors, adding that the plan “may require campuses to begin the term using remote instruction in order to allow students to complete an appropriate testing protocol as they return to campus.”

If in-person classes are delayed, “the length of this remote instruction period may vary from campus to campus,” Drake said.

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