January 10, 2022
Return for spring semester calls for optimism and caution
As we approach an in-person start to the spring semester, the university continues to follow our guiding principles and the COVID-19 protocols that helped us successfully navigate the fall semester. Right now, there is a major surge in COVID-19 cases being driven by the omicron variant. This surge is projected to continue for the next few weeks.
The best way to protect against serious illness or hospitalization is to become vaccinated and boosted, which is free and safe. If you are sick or experiencing COVID-like symptoms, please stay home. This is the time to look out for ourselves and each other.
The omicron variant seems to spread faster than previous variants and local hospitalizations are on the increase. A key factor in our decision-making remains the ability of the local health care systems to handle the pandemic. Currently, local health care providers are raising a cautionary flag that they may not be able to meet local medical needs if severe COVID-19 cases continue to rise. In addition, finding other hospitals for patient transfers is nearly impossible.
It is becoming apparent that COVID-19 is going to be with us for some time. Tools we have used in the past to reduce the spread may be less effective. For policy guidance, we continue to rely on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and local health departments. There have been significant changes in our guidance with regard to isolation and quarantine procedures, consistent with changes made at the national, state and local levels. Please familiarize yourself with the updated rules.
With regard to the spring semester:
- The temporary indoor face mask requirement continues. This means everyone must wear face masks over their mouths and noses in all indoor spaces on university property unless alone in their own private offices or workspaces.
- As in the fall, K-State remains strongly committed to in-person learning, with continuing precautions. Faculty continue to have the ability to temporarily adjust class modalities due to COVID-19 impact on in-person class attendance or changes in the pandemic situation. Guidance for faculty regarding temporary shifts to online instruction is outlined on the COVID-19 Academic Instruction webpage.
- Guidance with regard to remote work policies remains unchanged. Flexibility is encouraged based on what is likely to be a rapidly changing situation. Unit leaders are encouraged to consider hybrid remote work or remote work options to ensure the safety of our faculty and staff.
Let's continue working together to face this challenge and do what is necessary to protect our students, faculty, staff and communities throughout the spring semester. Our collective efforts to this point have been remarkable. We know we can do this, it's the K-State way.