Molloy College is slightly delaying the start of its spring semester amid health experts predicting a peak in Covid-19 infections this month due to the Omicron variant.
The college was set to begin its spring semester on Jan. 18, but officials announced on Jan. 5 that it is rescheduling the first day of clases to Jan. 22 for weekend students and Jan. 24 for those who attend on weekdays.
“Given the surge everyone is currently experiencing, we are simply utilizing four discretionary days (snow days) at the beginning of the semester to gain a few more days until classes start,” Ken Young, the school’s assistant vice president of marketing and public relations, wrote in an email to the Herald. “This buys us a little more time to allow the anticipated decline of Covid-19 cases to diminish as predicted. The goal is, of course, to help the Molloy community stay as safe as possible.”
Young added that if a severe winter storm causes in-person classes to get canceled during the semester, the school will move to remote learning for the day.
Hundreds of institutions across the country have taken steps to mitigate Covid-19 from being a factor to cancel classes. In addition to the delayed opening, Molloy has mandated that students and employees receive booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine when they are eligible. Those not boosted by Jan. 24 will be required to receive a temporary waiver.
After having to suspend classes at the beginning of the pandemic, school officials installed advanced technology air purifiers in the academic and residence buildings, as a way to limit the spread of Covid-19. Siemens Smart Infrastructure installed the O2Prime NPBI indoor, ozone-free air purification devices on HVAC systems across the campus. Molloy paid for the $1 million project through federal CARES Act funding that the Town of Hempstead distributed in a grant to the Rockville Centre college this summer.
“It’s important for our staff, students and the whole community that we have a safe environment for the in-person interactions that we’d like to have,” Molloy President Dr. Jim Lentini said in November. “We think it’s really important to get us back on campus.”
College officials said the air purifiers will add another layer of protection against Covid-19. The small units are black boxes, roughly the size of a cell phone, that attach inside air vents and work constantly while the vents are turned on. Molloy is the first college on Long Island to implement this technology, which floods the air with ions and greatly reduces viruses and bacteria.