Philadelphia-area universities taking precautions as COVID cases rise

The University of Pennsylvania is the latest institution to move final exams online.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region are taking precautions as COVID-19 cases begin to rise once again.

The University of Pennsylvania is the latest institution to move final exams online.

Citing rising new cases of COVID-19 on campus, university officials announced that all assessments scheduled for next week will be remote.

In-person exams will end Friday.

Reaction on campus was mixed.

"I have an organic chemistry final on Tuesday and I'm really glad that got moved online because I feel that does relieve a lot of stress," said freshman Ciara Jacobs.

"Now that everything is open note and open book, you know it wasn't exactly helpful for the way that I studied and I think there's no reliable way to prevent cheating in that circumstance. I think it leaves a lot of people at disadvantages," added freshman Caroline Keswin.

The University of Delaware will now require students to get the COVID-19 booster for the spring semester.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia officials urge residents to avoid holiday gatherings with people from other households
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Philadelphia health officials say new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are now approaching the dangerous levels seen last winter.

The requirement applies to all enrolled students whether they take classes on campus or online.

Students must get a booster dose by January 24.

"I know some people definitely don't want to get it," said sophomore Stephen Lesko.

The topic was on the minds of many students as they prepare to head home for the holiday break.

"I think it's for best. I think coming back to school like everyone deserves to be like safe and healthy if we're all going to be together," said sophomore Cecilia Goetz.

Other major university's in the area, like Temple will be offering boosters through campus clinics.

Students at Villanova and Drexel will also be subject to mandatory testing when returning from break.

Drexel officials said a decision for a requirement for a booster has yet to be decided.

Some students say each precaution may be for the best.

"I think it definitely makes sense given the recent spikes in COVID cases," UPenn senior Timothy Lee.
About 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or just over 60% of the population. That is well short of what scientists say is needed to keep the virus in check.

"Almost all the people dying are now dying preventable deaths," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "And that's because they're not immunized. And you know that, God, it's a terrible tragedy."

On Tuesday, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 800,000.

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