As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, so too has Northeastern University’s management of it. Most recently, faced with a variant of the coronavirus that is highly transmissible but causes less severe illness—especially in vaccinated, boosted populations—the university has evolved its response, putting protocols in place that will enable students, faculty, and staff to live, learn, and work in a manner that is safe, and as close to normal as possible.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, when there were no vaccinations, the tactics we used to identify as quickly as possible anyone who tested positive and isolate them were designed to reduce the transmission of the virus,” says Ken Henderson, Northeastern’s chancellor and senior vice president for learning, and former dean of the College of Science.
Now, the goal is to learn to live with the virus—at Northeastern and around the world. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization predicted that more than half of the population of Europe would be infected with the omicron variant in the next couple months.
Even before the WHO report was released, in a message to the university community, Northeastern leaders wrote, “It is now clear that COVID-19, in various forms, will be with us for the foreseeable future. As we move into this endemic phase of the pandemic, our job is to continue to control COVID effectively, not let COVID control us.”
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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University.