The University of Vermont has announced new and returning students are required to receive boosters no later than Feb. 1, 2022.
“We have watched the Omicron variant take hold rapidly in the U.S.,” said Gary Derr, vice president for operations and public safety. “Medical experts in Vermont and elsewhere agree that the best way to keep our campus healthy is to maximize the protection of our students with boosters as quickly as we can.”
The new variant shows signs of being more contagious than any previously known variants, but more data are needed about the severity of COVID symptoms for those infected and not vaccinated or boosted. For those who are already fully vaccinated, boosters appear to significantly reduce or prevent serious COVID symptoms following infection by the Omicron variant.
“There is no better protection from serious illness than full vaccination plus a booster,” said Dr. Michelle Paavola, medical director of UVM’s Center for Health and Wellbeing. “With 95% of our students already eligible for boosters, we have the chance to even more effectively protect our campus.”
The university has managed to maintain in-person classes and other activities largely thanks to students’ compliance with a vaccine requirement, indoor masking, and continued intensive sanitizing of facilities, equipment, and common areas. In-person operations have also afforded the social connectivity that can reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
“We monitor infection rates of our campus community on a daily basis,” said Derr. “In the event that we see upticks in cases, we will take the necessary steps to protect everyone to the best of our ability. For now, our goal is to keep UVM healthy physically and mentally by practicing smart community behaviors like getting boosters, masking indoors, and testing frequently.”
Students received email instructions today on how to report their COVID booster status on the university’s student portal. Students who will not yet be eligible for boosters by Feb. 1 will have up to 14 days from their date of eligibility to report their booster status to UVM.
An exemption procedure is in place for those with medical or religious reasons. Exempted students are required to test regularly for the coronavirus. Additionally, students who are studying remotely and do not live in Chittenden County can apply for an exemption from the booster requirement.
Categories: Press Release