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Princeton, NYU Announce Changes As COVID Cases Climb

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Several colleges have made a last-minute decision to go remote at the tail end of the semester after seeing an acceleration of COVID-19 cases among students.

New York University said it's not a cause for alarm, but it is encouraging faculty to give final exams online out of an abundance of caution.

The famed city institution is part of a growing list of schools making the change, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported Wednesday.

With just one week to go until the end of the semester, NYU students were thrown a curveball. The university's provost said there has been a considerable acceleration in the rate of new COVID cases in the campus community.

Student Checo Cardena said he is now waiting to hear which of his three finals will be online. He also needs to prepare to fly home to Mexico.

"I wish we had a little bit more time," Cardena said.


All non-academic activities at NYU have been cancelled.

Cornell University shut down all campus activities Tuesday and moved finals online after more than 700 students tested positive over three days.

The president said there was evidence of the Omicron variant in a significant number of samples.

Princeton University took the same action, urging students to leave campus at their earliest convenience, amid a rise in cases.

Cornell, Princeton and NYU reported student vaccination rates of more than 98%.

"It like sucks you can't go places you would normally want to," NYU student Lydia Mathis said.

Watch Lisa Rozner's report -- 

"I don't know, the uptick in COVID cases worries me," NYU student Carol Lee told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

NYU student Isabelle Perez from New Jersey said she'll now head home sooner than planned, since her final will be on Zoom.

"Honestly, it makes me feel more comfortable," Perez said. "I've been fearful of COVID to begin with."

As colleges brace for the worst, many see boosters as their best hope. More than 20 colleges have issued booster shot requirements in recent weeks, and others said they're thinking about it.

NYU said it is requiring boosters shots for students return to campus, adding it expects it will be able to bring students back for in-person learning in the spring, but it will carefully monitor COVID rates in the area.

"I think it's a great idea to get boosted.  Safer than sorry, in my opinion," NYU student Alan Nigena said.

"I definitely think it's a good idea, especially, especially with the new spread of the new COVID strain. I think it's important that all of us remain protected and safe," NYU student Lama Yousef said.

Fordham University said it will also require booster shots for all students, faculty members and staff.

CBS2's Dick Brennan contributed to this report.

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