Stanford University announced on Dec. 16 that classes in the first two weeks of the winter quarter will be held online and require all eligible students to provide documentation of a booster shot by Jan. 31.
Students can apply for a religious or medical exemption.
According to the university, the new vaccine policy is prompted by the unpredictability of the threat that the Omicron virus variant of COVID-19 poses to the public.
“In coming back for the winter quarter, we want to minimize disruptions to students’ coursework and also provide as much predictability as possible for both students and instructors,” a Stanford University statement reads.
Students are required to take a COVID-19 test before traveling back to school. The two weeks of remote instruction will allow students to settle in and give them more time to get their booster shot before returning to campus, according to the statement.
On the same day, Occidental College also updated its vaccination requirement to attend in-person classes, requiring all eligible students, staff, and faculty to get a booster shot by the first day of spring semester.
“We understand that sending a message like this just before the College shuts down for winter break is far from ideal, but we must adapt to the circumstances of the pandemic as they develop. We want to give everyone as much advance notice as possible, and encourage all students to get their booster now, before returning to campus,” Marty Sharkey and James Uhrich, COVID-19 Operations Group chairs, wrote in a Dec. 16 statement.
Other universities in the nation have already announced similar booster vaccine requirements.
The first university in the nation to implement the booster shots for students, faculty, and staff was Wesleyan University, a private liberal arts school located in Middletown, Connecticut, on Nov. 23.
Other universities that have announced booster vaccine requirements include the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Syracuse University in New York, Indiana’s University of Notre Dame, Loyola University in Chicago, and Bowdoin College in Maine.