Daytime – Local colleges will require booster shots for the spring semester

Local colleges have announced that students, staff and faculty need to receive booster shots to be able to return to campus for the spring semester, and at least one college is delaying the move in for students.

The requirement comes as COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket in Connecticut and nationwide due to the spread of the more transmissible omicron variant. The state reported more than half a million positive and probable cases of COVID-19 last week with a record 20% daily positivity rate and more than 1,150 hospitalizations.

Andrew Agwunobi, interim president of the University of Connecticut, announced last week that the school would require eligible students to receive booster shots. Discussions are also underway to require the same for eligible faculty and staff.

The school has decided to delay the students’ move to the Storrs and Stamford campuses for two weeks. Scheduled to start on January 18, classes will be online until January 29. The new move-in date for students in residence will be the weekend of January 29.

During this two-week period, the university asks all students to take precautions to avoid exposure to COVID-19, which means consistent masking (especially in public places) and avoiding gatherings , especially those who are indoors.

The university leadership will also be holding public online meetings this month for students and faculty / staff to answer any questions regarding the changes for the upcoming semester.

At Connecticut College, 99% of students and 98% of employees were fully immunized during the fall semester. The college experienced an outbreak in September after more than 50 students tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the student body to enter preventive quarantine with virtual classes for a week.

The Dean of Students, Victor Arcelus, has sent a message to students and employees regarding the upcoming semester, advising them that they must receive a COVID-19 reminder by February 1 or within 14 days of their eligibility.

Those eligible are those who received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

The majority of students are expected to return to Conn on January 23, but before that, students will need to provide a verification of their booster injection. They must also be tested at the latest 24 hours before their arrival on campus with the test kit provided to each student before leaving for winter vacation.

Arcelus said 1% of students who have received an approved exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be exempt from the recall requirement.

Upon arrival on campus, all students will also be required to take an integration PCR test at the university testing center. Throughout the semester, students will be tested twice a week and will have the new option of rapid antigen testing at the center.

Mitchell College sent an email on December 22 stating that students, faculty and staff will need to receive a COVID-19 reminder prior to their arrival date or within 30 days of being eligible for a reminder.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be required to take a test within 48 hours before returning to campus after winter break and will be advised not to wait until the last minute to make an appointment.

“We work closely with public health officials to keep our community safe while maximizing the experience for our students in college,” said Nancy Crowser, Mitchell’s Alumni Relations Manager.