KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students at Washington University in St. Louis will start the spring semester by attending their classes online in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The university said in a statement Thursday that cases are spiking on campus, just as they are in many parts of the country, prompting the decision to hold classes online only for the first two weeks of the semester.
The school said "as long as conditions allow," in-person instruction will begin Jan. 31 and students who live in dorms will be allowed to return on Jan. 28. Students will be required to get tested for COVID-19 before they can return to campus. The university will mail test kits to any student with an address in the U.S.
The decision was made as hospitals in the St. Louis region on Thursday cited an all-time high for admissions of COVID-19 patients.
Data from the state's COVID-19 dashboard on Friday showed that Missouri is now averaging more than 4,000 new cases per day, based on confirmed and probable testing results. Statewide hospitalizations continue to climb, reaching 2,299, which is the highest total since August.
The statewide positivity rate of 19.5% for PCR testing is nearly four times higher than the 5% goal set by the World Health Organization.