Quick Take:

Following a rising tide of schools starting the 2022 academic year with remote instruction, Cabrillo College told the campus community Friday that most classes would be online through Feb. 22. The college doesn’t start classes until Jan. 24.

Cabrillo College became the latest higher-ed institution in the county to swerve thanks to the Omicron variant, announcing Friday it will move most classes to an online format for the first four weeks of the 2022 academic year.

“With the recent surge in COVID-19 Omicron cases and a 21.4% test positivity rate statewide, which includes more than a handful of positive cases among Cabrillo students and employees, the [Emergency Operations Center] has made the decision to move most in-person classes and student services to an online modality until February 22, 2022,” reads a message from Cabrillo President Matt Wetstein.

In his letter, Wetstein added that about 15% of classes will continue to be in-person and other classes may be included.

“The EOC wanted to get the message out as soon as possible in order to promote certainty about class sections and services sooner rather than later,” he wrote. “We will change our website messaging and notices to students starting early next week.”

Wetstein said three major factors played a part in the EOC’s decision: case rates, projected hospitalizations and the rapid spread of COVID-19 in communities.

He also encourages employees who can work remotely to work remotely through Feb. 22.

“The decision to move to more online classes and services helps our internal college systems and local health care systems avoid being inundated at a critical time,” he wrote. “By limiting campus visits, we will limit community spread, which reduces active cases, reduces mandated contact tracing and reporting, and reduces the impact of closures, room cleaning, etc. It also will reduce the amount of absences that students, staff, and faculty will have to accommodate.”

This week, UC Santa Cruz announced two additional weeks of remote instruction and isn’t planning to have in-person classes until Jan. 31.

After three years of reporting on public safety in Iowa, Hillary joins Lookout Santa Cruz with a curious eye toward the county’s education beat. At the Iowa City Press-Citizen, she focused on how local...