Syracuse University is delaying the start of the spring semester by one week in an effort to offset the chances of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak on the campus following the holidays, according to a letter from the university's chancellor sent out on Wednesday. 

In person classes will now resume on Jan. 24, according to school officials, with spring break remaining as previously scheduled for March 13-20.

The announcement comes as state and national health experts warn of higher infection rates in the first three weeks of January. 

"I am optimistic for the spring semester because we have done this before. Syracuse University has safely and successfully held three in-person semesters of instruction in the midst of the pandemic. Each semester, the circumstances have been different. Each semester, the resilience of our Orange community has remained the same. Each semester, we have made decisions based on science and the best public health guidance. I am confident in our ability to do it again," said SU Chancellor Kent Syverud.

Syracuse University will also be requiring students, faculty and staff to receive COVID-19 booster shots for the spring semester if and when they become eligible for one, according to the chancellor.