Several Conn. universities to require COVID-19 boosters next semester

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The fight to combat COVID in colleges and universities continues.

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing amid concerns over the new omicron variant, some universities in Connecticut have already decided they will require booster shots for students and staff returning to campuses next semester.

Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Sacred Heart University are among the universities to announce such requirements.

While many Yale students are already home for the holidays, some students are in the middle of their finals. Ryan McCann, a junior football player, said he’s concentrating on that right now but said he will get his booster shot once he heads home.

“Obviously, it’s a very touchy subject with a lot of people, but I agree with it… like anything that can get us back on campus in-person classes,” McCann said. “As an athlete, I want to be full-go with my athletics, working outs, lifting, all that. Anything that goes and helps us get to that point, I’m all for it.”

Yale’s spring semester is expected to start on Jan. 18, but officials told students to plan for the possibility of some or all activities to take place remotely at the outset of the semester.

“I think right now we’re like 99.6 percent vaccinated with like the regular sort of cycle so I don’t think anybody has any sort of qualms against it,” said Yale senior Elizabeth Hopkinson.

She got her booster over her Thanksgiving break.

“Anything that can keep us on campus hopefully still being in the classroom and can keep all the social parts of college that make it so special alive,” said Hopkinson. “If that takes boosters then I’m 100 percent for it.”

Students and staff are required to have those booster shots before they return to campus for the spring semester which begins next month.

Wesleyan will require boosters for all students, staff, and faculty.

“Thanks to our high vaccination rates, mask mandates, and robust testing protocols, the Wesleyan campus community has consistently maintained COVID-19 positivity rates lower than our surrounding area,” Wesleyan University’s President Michael Roth said. “The vast majority of faculty, students, and staff are currently eligible to receive their booster and must upload a copy of their updated vaccination card to WesPortal, reporting the date on which they received their booster shot, by Friday, Jan. 14.”

Officials with Sacred Heart said all students, faculty, and staff who plan to be on campus must be fully vaccinated and get a booster shot. “Students, faculty, and staff were able to apply for a religious or medical exemption before the 2021-’22 academic year.”

At this point, those who are vaccinated will just need to get that extra shot.

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