December 21st 2021
CHICAGO (CBS) — The University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, and Northwestern University have all announced Monday they will be requiring all students and employees to receive a COVID-19 booster shot once they are eligible.
By Jan. 31, all students and staffers at the U of C will be required to submit proof of a booster shot, or apply for an approved exemption. Those who are eligible for a booster but have not received one should do so before coming back to campus for Winter Quarter, the U of C said.
Everyone 16 and over is eligible for a booster shot six months after receiving their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Meanwhile, “non-mission critical” gatherings on campus such as holiday parties will not be happening at the U of C, and students and staff are advised to avoid gatherings off campus where public health requirements such as masking or the prevalence of vaccination are not known.
Anyone who attends a large gathering where people’s vaccination status is not known or where public health measures are not being followed is advised to take a COVID-19 test before and after the gathering, the U of C said.
Masks are also required at all times for everyone – vaccinated or not – while in U of C buildings. Lowering masks while speaking in class will no longer be allowed.
A period of mandatory weekly testing is expected for students living in campus housing, though the details have yet to be finalized, the U of C said.
The University of Chicago Medical Center will not be implementing a booster mandate for employees or clinically active faculty and staff in the Biological Sciences Division.
“While there are some who are feeling COVID-19 fatigue and may be tempted to eschew public health precautions, please remember that the health of our entire community depends on the actions of all of us,” U of C Provost Ka Yee C. Lee and Executive Vice President Katie Callow-Wright said in the announcement. “With the Omicron and Delta variants circulating in the United States, and the fluid and fast changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to remain as vigilant as ever to protect yourselves and others and watch for updates from the University.:
The U of C said 98 percent of employees and 97 percent of students are already in compliance with the full vaccine mandate requirement. The plan is to return fully to in-person classes and research on Jan. 3.
All students, faculty, and staff are also required to get a booster shot at Loyola University Chicago. The university requires that everyone submit their updated COVID-19 vaccination card after getting the booster.
Northwestern University also announced that it will require all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot by Sunday, Jan. 30, or 30 days after becoming eligible for a booster – whichever is later.
At Northwestern, all classes and extracurricular activities will also go remote from Jan. 1 until Jan. 17 as the campus observes a “Wildcat Wellness” modified quarantine period. Students will still be allowed to come back to campus, but anyone living in on- or off-campus residences and fraternity and sorority houses must participate in Wildcat Wellness. Students must receive two in-person COVID-19 tests before going back to in-person classes.