ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Cornell University says it is continuing to see a rapid spread of COVID-19 among students. As a result the university announced on Monday it would be moving to “Alert Level Red.”

A letter to the campus community says their testing lab identified evidence of the highly contagious omicron variant in a “significant number” of Monday’s positive cases, those still have to be analyzed through sequencing. Cornell University announced a number of immediate measures on Monday. Some students say they weren’t surprised by the university’s decision to move to Alert Level Red.

“We were kind of sort of expecting it to happen at some point ’cause the cases were going up insanely and like we had so many cases in our house, so I think it’s a good thing. Now everything is being shut down ’cause it was insane,” says Maya Sauthoff, a sophomore at Cornell University.

So insane, that all seven of Sauthoff’s roommates tested positive for COVID-19.

“It was a little scary to be in the house with everyone. So it’s good to get out of here,” says Sauthoff.

Sauthoff is now heading back home for winter break, however, she isn’t done with the fall semester, just yet.

“I still have an orgo final tomorrow at 9 a.m. So I have to study on the way home and then I have two more finals,” says Sauthoff.

However, going back home isn’t as easy for sophomore, Vlad Asriev.

“I didn’t really anticipate the end of 2021 double masking. But this is just a precaution that I am taking just because for myself, I want to be able to see my family,” says Asriev.

Asriev is from Russia and hasn’t seen his family in months. But says he has plans to fly home in a week.

Asriev added, “I hope I don’t test positive before then because if I do then that means I can’t get on the plane and that’s just inconvenient.”

Asriev says he isn’t surprised by the university’s decision to move to Alert Level Red. However, he thinks the university should have taken action earlier.

“I think Cornell has done a good job, maybe up to this point, but I think they really dropped the ball this time around. I think as soon as we hit like about like the 50 case mark like that should have been a bit of a flag that oh, you know. This, you know, we should really reconsider what we’re doing here.”

Other students at Cornell did not want to go on camera but say they are not surprised by the university’s decision. Students are hoping things when they return for the spring semester, things are back to normal.

Click here for the measures put into place at Cornell University.