ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is delaying the start of the spring 2022 semester to Jan. 18 to try and diminish the spread of the omicron variant.
ECSU Chancellor Karrie Dixon said the postponement will help reduce the exposure to COVID-19 after the holidays, while giving students and parents notice to revise travel plans.
The announcement came after North Carolina reported a record-breaking 18,571 new cases on Thursday, Dec. 30.
According to the university, state health officials and experts within the University of North Carolina System expect the surge in cases to decline rapidly following the holiday season.
As a result of the delay, the move-in date for students returning to campus residence halls was moved to Jan. 15 and 16. The university said its Housing and Residence Life contact students with their new date and time.
When students come back, they'll be required to submit a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of returning to campus, regardless of vaccination status.
For those who can't provide test documentation before coming back, the university will administer a rapid antigen test. A negative test is required to enter the residence halls.
The university will also maintain its mask requirement for all indoor facilities, and unvaccinated students will have to continue weekly COVID-19 testing.