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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The University of the Pacific is implementing new COVID-19 policies to try to slow the spread of the pandemic on their campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco. 

Tuesday was the first day of the spring semester for UOP grad students like Destiny Easter.

“When I do go to campus, I feel pretty safe,” Easter told FOX40. “I’ve spent a year and a half I believe at this point that you know, the years are a blur at this point with this crazy remote hybrid situation that we’re going through.”

Graduate students and some faculty were allowed back on campus as the university implements a staggered return.

Maria Blandizzi, the co-chair of UOP’s COVID-19 Council, said all health science student labs and hands-on training will continue in person but with limited capacity.

“We are doing remote instruction for lectures because we are trying to train the next health scientists to go and assist in responding to the pandemic,” Blandizzi explained.

Those changes and other policies are being put in place in response to climbing COVID-19 cases because of the omicron variant.

“We are watching very closely what’s occurring in the state,” Blandizzi said.

Beginning this year, booster shots are required in addition to weekly COVID-19 testing on all their campuses for all staff, students and faculty who must test negative before they can return to campus. 

“We are preparing for remote instruction as needed depending on what we see,” Blandizzi said.

School officials are in wait-and-see mode for undergraduate students who are supposed to return to campus on Jan. 18.

“We are concerned, we are very concerned. We want to keep everyone safe,” Blandizzi said.

UOP has canceled all athletic competitions and large-scale student events.

“We do not want to have any type of events that would be considered super spreader events,” she said.

UOP said while their COVID-19 testing is just for their college community, vaccine clinics for the public are in the works.