As a way to keep campuses safe amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, area colleges and universities are updating protocols for the spring semester.
In an email addressed to the University of Connecticut community on Dec. 30, President Andrew Agwunobi announced classes will still begin on Jan. 18, but the first two weeks will be conducted online. The move-in date for residential students will now be the weekend of Jan. 29.
Booster shots may be required for students. faculty and staff, Agwunobi also said in the email.
Stephanie Reitz, university spokesperson, said that 99% of the residential students on the Storrs campus are vaccinated.
“UConn also has had policies in place since the pandemic’s start to require masking inside all university buildings, which we believe has helped as well,” Reitz said.
All students at Quinnipiac University, regardless of vaccination status, must submit a negative COVID-19 test before they return to campus at the end of January, said John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations.
Students are allowed to upload a PCR test or a rapid test by Jan 21, with the spring semester beginning on Jan 24, according to an email sent to the university from David Hill, senior medical adviser of the COVID-19 task force, and Tom Ellett, chief experience officer.
Morgan also said that the university is requiring all students, faculty and staff to receive a booster shot by Feb. 15. There will be booster clinics held on campus Jan. 31, and Feb. 1, for those who could not receive it over the winter break.
“We continue to closely monitor the omicron virus and review our various COVID-19 policies, protocols and contingency plans to ensure we’re prepared to provide a healthy and safe living and learning environment for everyone in our community,” Morgan said.
Zulma Toro, president of Central Connecticut State University, said that the spring 2022 semester will begin as scheduled, with students moving back into residence halls on Jan. 17 and 18.
“On January 19, we will move forward with the classes as they were planned before the end of last semester, meaning 90 percent of all the classes will be on ground, 10 percent will be online,” Toro said. “We’re going to maintain these safety and health protocols that have made our operations so successful.”
Students and faculty who are not vaccinated must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Face masks must be worn inside buildings at all times.
In an email sent to the Yale University community, Melanie Boyd, dean of student affairs and senior associate dean at Yale College, said that residential students will now be able to move back into residential colleges any time between Jan. 14 and Feb. 4, with online instruction taking place until Feb. 4.
A campus-wide quarantine will begin as students start to arrive for the spring semester, expecting to conclude on Feb. 7. Students are encouraged to stay in their living space, only to leave to pick up meals, for testing and other medical purposes.
Students must submit a rapid test within 24 hours of their travel back to campus or a PCR test within 72 hours of their arrival. Students also must upload proof they have received the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine. Once they return to campus, they must test again.
At the University of Hartford, students, faculty and staff will be required to show proof of a booster vaccine before Jan. 19, the first day of classes, or show that they are within seven days of eligibility. All residential students will be required to test upon arrival. Masks will be required and for the first two weeks of the semester, only university community members will be allowed to attend in-person on-campus events.
“As of now, we are optimistic that by taking these precautions, we can open on time and in person,” said Meagan Fazio, director of strategic communication. “Of course, the university will remain poised to pivot if we need to. As we have throughout the pandemic, the university’s COVID-19 planning group — composed of representatives from across campus — is monitoring developments and data daily. We will continue to consult with public health experts.”