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Ball State preparing for virtual semester start if COVID cases continue surging

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Ball State University
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By Stan Sollars and Sephanie Wiechmann
Indiana Public Radio

Ball State University is preparing faculty for the possibility of remote learning next semester, in case the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to be highly transmissible.

Ball State president Geoffrey Mearns says the provost has asked faculty to be ready to teach virtually for the first week or two of classes.

“We’ve not yet made that decision, but of course wanted our faculty to be prepared if we’re required to make that shift.”

Mearns says the school may make a decision next week as it monitors local COVID case numbers. Mearns did not give a number of cases where remote learning would be triggered, saying the administration will rely heavily on public health experts.

Read More: IU Health sees record number of COVID patients

Voluntary vaccination rates among most Ball State staff are good, says Mearns – 90 percent of faculty and 80 percent of most staff. But not all staff.

“The only category that lags is service personnel. That’s, I believe, only around 50 percent, maybe not even quite 50 percent.”

Service staff vaccination numbers mirror Ball State’s home county at large. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 46 percent of people in Delaware County are fully vaccinated.