Dear AU Community,
In preparation for the in-person spring semester, we continue to update our health and safety protocols based on the latest science and feedback from our community. This approach served us well in the fall, keeping our community safe by using the best tools at our disposal, including high vaccination rates, mask wearing, and testing and contact tracing protocols. With increasing COVID-19 transmission in the region, large numbers of people six months (or more) beyond their second vaccine dose, holiday travel, more indoor activity and gatherings during the winter months, and the emergence of the Omicron variant, we are now taking an additional step to extend our community of care. All students, faculty, and staff (whether on-campus, online, or hybrid) will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot by February 10, 2022, which is one month after the start of spring classes, or 14 days after you become eligible for a booster. This is an extension of the university vaccine requirement policy. We wanted to share this information now to make the process easier for our community.
The latest CDC guidance recommends booster shots for all eligible adults over the age of 18. You are eligible if you received your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago. Additional data indicates that boosters provide helpful protection against the Omicron variant. As the weather gets colder and people gather indoors, getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster can help protect you and those around you. If you have questions about boosters, please consult with your healthcare professional and review the guidance from the CDC to determine the right booster for you and the appropriate timing. You can visit Vaccines.gov to find the closest location offering booster shots, whether it is near campus, your home, or even while you are traveling.
Our goal is to support the AU community by informing you of this new requirement before the winter break, streamlining the process for updating your proof of vaccination, and helping you plan accordingly to get your booster if you have not yet done so or are not yet eligible. Additional information about the booster requirement can be found in our updated FAQs. Students can upload their booster information on the student health portal where you provided your initial proof of vaccination. Students planning to study abroad in the spring need to submit booster documents to AU Abroad at least two weeks before their program start date. Faculty and staff may upload updated vaccination information on the AU Forward portal. Individuals with an approved exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement are also exempt from the booster requirement and should continue the required testing and other safety measures. We also recommend all community members plan to get tested upon returning in January.
As you depart for a well-deserved break and safe holiday gatherings, I want to thank you all for your commitment to our community of care. Each of you has made this in-person semester possible and by following these updated procedures, will continue to position us for success in the spring
Be safe and be well.
Sylvia M. Burwell