Cornell, Ithaca College and UR now among colleges requiring COVID-19 boosters for students

Matt Steecker
Ithaca Journal

Cornell University, Ithaca College and the University of Rochester are among several institutions in New York State and nationwide that are requiring students to receive COVID-19 boosters.

Syracuse University has required all eligible students, faculty and staff who routinely access any Syracuse University campus location or facility, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and all study abroad locations, to receive a booster shot prior to the start of the spring semester, or as soon as they become eligible.

In the Hudson Valley, Vassar College and Marist College are requiring boosters for students.

More:Are area colleges requiring COVID vaccine boosters for spring? Safety plans issued

Recent studies show the Moderna and Pfizer boosters offer considerable protection for the omicron variant. Two weeks ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there would be no need for boosters that would be specifically made for the omicron variant.

Cornell will require all students, faculty and staff to have a booster by Jan. 31 or 30 days after someone becomes eligible. People are eligible to receive the booster six months after they have received their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, or two months after they have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The West Campus, Libe Slope and the Arts Quad at Cornell University.

Cornell University reported more than 2,500 positive COVID-19 tests in December. Cases spiked from Dec. 11 to Dec. 18, when the university had more than 2,100 students, faculty and staff testing positive, of which 328 were reported positive on Dec. 15.

"There are many opportunities to learn from our recent surge in cases, both in terms of our preparedness for any future variants, and the manner in which the virus continues to impact our campus and the world," reads a message from Cornell University. "We will work earnestly over the coming weeks to devise an approach to next semester that is both safe and sustainable, understanding that as we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, we are all depleted from its impact."

Ithaca College will require a booster dose by Feb. 15 or within 30 days of becoming eligible for a booster if that date falls after the Feb. 15 deadline. The college will also "de-densify" its move-in procedures for the spring semester by initiating a six-day move-in process from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23.

IC students will have to receive a PCR test within 72 hours before their arrival on campus and will have to show proof of a negative test result in order to check in. All IC students will also have to submit to a COVID-19 test upon arrival at check-in.

Other universities around the country, including Columbia University, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, Duke University, Virginia Tech and the University of Massachusetts have announced booster requirements as well. Duke University announced it would place employees on administrative leave and fire them if they do not provide proof of a booster shot or apply for an exemption.

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