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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — The chancellor of the University of California, Davis said Thursday they will be holding classes remotely through Jan. 28.

UC Davis had originally planned to return to in-person instruction the second week of the winter quarter, after starting the quarter remotely Monday. In a Dec. 21 update by Chancellor Gary May, the delayed start to in-person lessons would allow “enough time for members of our community to secure a negative COVID-19 test before attending classes or coming to work in person on January 10.”

But by Thursday, May said the university would be continuing with virtual courses for another three weeks due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant.

“Know that there are many staff and faculty behind the scenes working hard to keep our operations running, and they are stretched thin. We are impacted by staff shortages in some crucial areas, and that is also affecting our decisions,” May said in his video message to students.

Sacramento State also recently announced that it will move most of its classes online for the first two weeks of the semester.

Prior to the chancellor’s announcement and in response to the decision to return to campus in person by Jan. 10, a petition signed by over 6,000 people demanded UC Davis extend online instruction.

The update’s references to influenza and ‘living with COVID-19 at an endemic level’ make clear that the UC Davis administration is not prioritizing the immunocompromised, the disabled, unvaccinated people, children, those who live with people from any of these groups, or the general health of the public. We also know that COVID-19 has been affecting people with pre-existing social, economic, and physical conditions much more significantly, making them more vulnerable to outbreaks. …

… We demand that UC Davis administration offer full online accessibility and options alongside in-person ones (often called a hybrid approach) for lectures, discussions, labs, all other forms of instruction, as well as non-teaching staff positions at UCD. This applies to both this quarter and going forward, not only due to the pandemic but also because this constitutes a vital access need for disabled people.

Change.org petition

UC Davis recently recorded a seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate of 4.3% between its students and staff.

Ninety-eight percent of all students and staff are fully vaccinated, though that number does not account for those who have gotten their booster shot. Back in December, the UC system made it a requirement that all eligible students and staff get a COVID-19 booster shot.

The city of Davis has reported a recent case rate of 19.3 per 100,000 and a seven-day test positivity rate of 4.1%.