With COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, Stanford University and Western College will require COVID-19 booster shots for all eligible students before returning to campus after winter break.
Stanford University announced on December 16 that classes for the first two weeks of the Winter Quarter will be online and will require all eligible students to submit booster documentation by January 31.
Students can apply for an exemption from classes for religious or medical reasons.
According to the university, the new vaccine policy is dictated by the unpredictability of the threat that the viral variant of COVID-19 poses to the population.
“Returning to the winter quarter, we want to minimize student disruption and ensure that both students and faculty are as predictable as possible,” Stanford University said in a statement.
Students must take a COVID-19 test before returning to school. According to the statement, two weeks of distance learning will allow students to get comfortable and give them more time to do a revaccination before returning to campus.
On the same day, Occidental College also updated its vaccination requirements for full-time attendance, requiring all eligible students, staff, and faculty to be revaccinated by the first day of the spring semester.
“We understand that sending a message like this just before the college closes for the winter break is far from ideal, but we must adapt to the circumstances of the pandemic as they develop. We want to warn everyone as early as possible and urge all students to get the booster now before returning to campus, ”Marty Sharkey and James Urich, Chairs of the COVID-19 Operations Group, wrote in a December 16 statement.
Other universities in the country have already announced similar revaccination requirements.
The first university in the country to implement booster shots for students, faculty and staff was Wesleyan University, a private liberal arts school located in Middletown, Connecticut on November 23.
Other universities that have announced booster vaccine requirements include the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Syracuse University in New York, Indiana University of Notre Dame, Loyola University in Chicago, and Bowdon College in Maine.