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Stephens College to temporarily hold online classes, citing coronavirus surge

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Stephens College plans to hold classes online for at least the first two weeks of the spring semester.

Stephens in a news release attributed the decision to move courses online to a nationwide increase of COVID-19, specifically the omicron variant.

"We are proud of the fact that Stephens continues to be a community that meets and exceeds local COVID requirements, " Stephens College President Dianne Lynch said in the release.

A spokesman said the virtual courses are scheduled to last from Monday through Jan. 21. As of Dec. 15, there were two active cases of COVID-19 among students.

The school will also require all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, to test negative for COVID-19 before coming back to campus. Stephens College plans to require anyone who is unvaccinated to test weekly for the virus.

"That's why we have a 91% overall vaccination rate, and, at least in part, why there has been very minimal outbreak on our campus. As we head into a new omicron wave, we will continue to take extra precautions until there is a better understanding of the implications of the new variant," Lynch said.

Stephens College plans to offer students and staff testing for the coronavirus through the end of this month.

Columbia College officials are evaluating plans ahead of the start of classes Monday, spokesman Sam Fleury said.

The University of Missouri plans to conduct classes in person when the semester begins Jan. 18, a spokesman said Tuesday. MU has seen a major increase in active student coronavirus cases this week. The university reported 41 new active cases Tuesday for a total of 129 -- far beyond any total recorded during the fall semester. Cases reached the high 30s late in the fall semester.

Boone County's active coronavirus cases vaulted over 1,000 on Monday after the long holiday weekend.

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Zachary Farwell

Zachary Farwell is the assignment editor and former senior producer at ABC 17 News.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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