Northern Kentucky University (NKU) student union building

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Northern Kentucky University will delay the beginning of its return to class in response to surging COVID-19 cases.

In a message released Tuesday, President Ashish Vaidya said classes will now begin Jan. 18 "in order to keep everyone as safe as possible."

"It appears that illnesses from infection with Omicron are, at least for those who are vaccinated and boosted, significantly milder than prior variants," Vaidya said. "However, Omicron remains dangerous to the unvaccinated and those who haven’t received a third dose of the vaccines. We encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are able to do so. The vaccines have proven extraordinarily safe and highly effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness. The indoor mask mandate will remain in effect."

Kentucky reached a new daily record for COVID-19 cases, with 6,441 reported on Dec. 30, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday. The previous high was 5,742 cases on Jan. 6, 2021, the governor's office said.

The statewide test positivity rate has soared to 20.7%, he said.

For more information on NKU's new school calendar, click here.

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