Thursday, 20 Jan 2022

University of Northern Colorado to require COVID-19 boosters, more masking – The Denver Post

The University of Northern Colorado is pressing ahead with on-campus instruction Monday, but with new safety measures amid record-high reports of new COVID-19 cases across the globe.

UNC President Andy Feinstein announced the university will implement a booster shot requirement and expand its indoor masking requirement in a letter published on the university’s website Thursday. On-campus instruction and activities will resume as planned.

“The educational opportunities and engagement that occur in person on our campus are an important part of the invaluable educational experience we facilitate wherein our students and even our faculty and staff learn, grow, and thrive together,” Feinstein wrote. “We learned over the past several months, including during the fall semester, that we can operate and offer an in-person educational experience safely. Measures like the vaccine and masking requirements allowed us to do so by mitigating transmission of COVID-19 in our classrooms and shared spaces.”

Weld County this past week reported the most COVID-19 cases seen in a single day throughout the entire pandemic, with 658 cases reported Monday. The rapid spread of the highly contagious omicron variant has led to record-high daily case counts across the globe in recent days, in spite of case reporting lags meaning actual numbers are likely higher.

The state reported a record high on Dec. 31, with 11,707 new cases. Johns Hopkins University reported Jan. 3 a record 1.17 million cases in the U.S. Cases are also spiking to never-before-seen highs in France, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Argentina and Australia, according to Johns Hopkins.

Getting the vaccine and booster shot is the best way to protect against serious illness from the virus, the university noted in its update. Students, faculty and staff are required to receive a booster shot before Feb. 7 if they are eligible or within one month of eligibility if that date is after Feb. 7. Exemptions for medical or non-medical reasons will still be allowed.

University officials encourage community members not to wait for the deadline and to get the booster shot and submit the information to the university as soon as possible. In partnership with the state health department, the university will host a mobile vaccination clinic 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Monday south of the Campus Commons. No appointment is needed.

Northern Colorado joins Colorado State University, Regis University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, among other universities across the state and country, in requiring booster shots.

The university will continue to require masks covering the nose and mouth indoors in public spaces on campus, now including all shared spaces in the residence halls. It has also adjusted its isolation and quarantine periods for those who test positive or are exposed to COVID-19, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance.

Those who are fully vaccinated and receive the booster are 47.5 times less likely to be hospitalized than someone who is unvaccinated, the university noted in its update, citing state health officials. They’re also nearly 10 times less likely to get COVID-19 than someone who is unvaccinated and 3.3 times less likely than someone who is vaccinated but hasn’t received the booster.

“Much as we have throughout the pandemic, we are going to get through this together,” Feinstein wrote.

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