Northwestern University officials announced late Monday that classes will be held remotely for the first two weeks of winter quarter and that students, faculty and staff will need to have COVID-19 vaccine booster shots by the end of January.

Luke Figora, the schools vice president for operations, says in person classes and extra-curricular activities won’t resume until Tuesday, Jan. 18, after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but that students are welcome to return to campus on the regular schedule.

The new message to students and staff says booster shots will be required by Jan 30, or 30 days after a person becomes eligible for a booster shot, whichever is later.

“The fast spread of the Omicron variant and guidance from our medical experts have caused us to reconsider” previous plans for a normal opening to winter quarter.

The school’s COVID dashboard reports 476 new positive cases in the seven days ending Sunday and a test positivity rate of 12.9%.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.