The News-Times

Yale, Sacred Heart to require COVID boosters

- By Raga Justin Sandra Diamond Fox has contribute­d to this story.

As COVID cases rise and concerns grow over the omicron variant, at least two more Connecticu­t colleges will require students to get booster shots before returning to campus in January.

In a message to the university community this weekend, Yale canceled all in-person final exams and said students can go home for the semester if they were concerned about COVID.

Yale and Sacred Heart University will begin requiring booster shots when students return to campus in January, officials said. Wesleyan University was among the first colleges to require COVID booster shots. The Middletown school is requiring boosters for all students, staff and faculty as part of the university’s vaccine mandate policy, according to its website.

In a message on Saturday, Marvin Chun, dean of Yale College, and deans Tamar Szabó Gendler and Lynn Cooley, said instructor­s will either offer remote exams at the scheduled time or give students make-up exams.

“While Yale has not experience­d the same increase in COVID rates as some other universiti­es, we know that many of you are concerned about remaining on campus during the finals period,” officials wrote in the message, posted on Yale’s website and circulated to students. “Although the risk of transmissi­on during in-person examinatio­ns is small, we want you to be able to go home now.”

Officials said students are not required to leave campus early, but said they encourage students to go home if they are concerned about COVID.

Campus will close at noon Thursday, and students are asked to maintain testing, masking and social distancing.

Classes are still expected to resume on Jan. 18, but officials asked students to prepare for the possibilit­y of remote activities and classes when they return, citing rapidly changing public health measures.

Boosters will also be required before returning to campus in January, officials said.

Like Yale, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield is requiring booster shots for all students, faculty and staff who are taking classes or working on campus. According to the school’s website, students are required to receive a booster shot before returning to campus after the holiday break if they are eligible or no later than March 15.

Sacred Heart will also require students to have a PCR test within 72 hours before returning to campus after the holiday break.

All full-time undergradu­ate students will be tested when they return to campus the week of Jan. 17 and will be required to bring their negative pre-semester PCR results to the school’s on-campus testing.

Faculty and staff will also be required to receive a booster and be tested.

Several other Connecticu­t colleges are encouragin­g booster shots, but are not yet requiring them.

Quinnipiac University is not mandating boosters, but the Hamden school officials said they are monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The university will hold an on-campus booster clinic at the beginning of the spring semester.

Fairfield University recommends a COVID-19 vaccine, but does not require it.

The University of Connecticu­t requires students who attend classes in-person to be fully vaccinated, but the school is not mandating boosters.

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