PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — As the omicron variant causes a rise in coronavirus cases, officials from Oregon State University have announced the school will be joining the growing list of universities and colleges where students, staff and faculty will be required to get a COVID-19 booster shot
As of last week, more than 30 colleges have issued booster shot requirements.
The list includes large universities like Boston University, NYU, the University of Chicago, Michigan State University, the University of Oregon and the University of California.
Officials at Oregon State say in-person instruction and all other university activities and operations are still scheduled to resume on-site on Jan. 3.
However, students returning to residence halls will be required to be tested for COVID-19.
Oregon State University plans to resume in-person instruction and other university activities and operations on Jan. 3 as planned at all of its campuses and locations.
“Our decision is informed by federal, state and local health authority guidance and is buoyed by positive signs that Omicron, while highly transmissible, may be resulting in milder symptoms and fewer cases of severe illness, hospitalization and death,” said Becky Johnson, OSU’s interim president. “The university’s decision is intentional. We are mindful that classrooms, where students and faculty are vaccinated and wear face coverings, have not been a significant source of virus spread.
“We seek to minimize disruption of student learning and experience and provide predictability for our faculty and university operations.
“We believe we can guard against a surge in COVID-19 cases due to a vaccination rate of more than 93% among OSU students and employees; requiring booster shots when a person is eligible as part of OSU’s vaccination program; the continuation of OSU’s emphasis on targeted COVID-19 testing; and our community’s adherence to numerous other public health measures.”
OSU’s decision aligns with plans collaboratively announced today by all of Oregon’s public universities to maintain on-site teaching as winter term begins.
OSU will undertake the following actions to support continuity in in-person teaching, activities and operations:
- Strongly recommending that eligible students and employees get a booster shot take and receive the results of a COVID-19 test before Jan 3.
- Requiring booster shots by students and employees when eligible in winter term as part of OSU’s vaccination program.
- Requiring students returning to university-managed residence halls for winter term be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to the Corvallis campus and OSU-Cascades in Bend.
- Offering voluntary on-campus COVID-19 testing for OSU students and employees in Corvallis and Bend as winter term begins.
- Assisting local health authorities and health care agencies in promoting booster clinics and testing opportunities.
- Reviewing and updating as necessary COVID-19 practices and procedures for in-person university events planned during winter term.