Mandatory COVID Booster Shots and Testing in January
Dear Lewis & Clark Community,
As the college closes for winter break and we shift our focus to spring semester, we are closely monitoring the predicted surge of the Omicron variant in Oregon and planning for various contingencies. We will continue to closely monitor the situation with Omicron over the break. As conditions evolve, we may need to make adjustments to our spring semester plans. Please check your email for updates. We will share more information as it is available, but want to provide the following decisions now.
Lewis & Clark Now Requires COVID Vaccine Boosters for All Persons Eligible
Vaccination remains the leading prevention strategy to protect individuals from COVID-19 disease. Although COVID-19 vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination becomes less effective over time. Data from clinical trials shows that a booster shot increases the immune response in those who finished a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series six months earlier or who received a Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine two months earlier. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
All members of the Lewis & Clark community–students, faculty, staff, and employees of our long-term, on-campus partners–are now required to get a COVID booster shot as soon as they are eligible. The only exceptions are community members who either: 1) have an approved COVID vaccination exemption, or 2) are exclusively engaged in distance learning or working and will never be on campus.
Per CDC recommendations, you need to get a booster before returning to campus in January if:
- You are 16 or older and received your second Pflizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago.
- You are 18 or older and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
- You are 16 or older and received your last dose of a WHO-listed vaccine (other than Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J) at least six months ago. (See here for more information about which booster dose you qualify for.)
Community members who are eligible are expected to obtain their booster dose as soon as possible. You should plan to receive your booster dose two weeks prior to your first day on campus in January, if at all possible, as it takes two weeks for the booster dose to offer maximum protection. If you are not yet eligible to receive a booster because not enough time has passed since your last dose, you are expected to obtain your booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
Students who are eligible must receive their booster dose prior to the first day of classes. Students who are eligible but who cannot access booster doses in this timeframe should inform Wellness Services at email@example.com so staff can clear the student for class attendance and ensure the student has access to a booster dose as soon as possible. As soon as students receive their booster dose, they must follow these steps to document their compliance with the booster requirement.
Employees will soon be required to upload proof of their booster shot to Workday. We will provide directions about how employees can upload their documentation as soon as the system is set up to receive that information.
Information about boosters shots, including how to locate a booster shot provider, is available for Oregon residents on the Oregon Health Authority webpage, and is available for others on the CDC website. Employees with health insurance through Kaiser can also find information on the Kaiser webpage. As you seek out your booster dose, remember that, per the CDC, it’s OK to get a booster of a vaccine type (e.g., Moderna, Pfizer) that is different from your original vaccine type.
For individuals who are unable to access a booster prior to their return to campus, we plan to offer booster clinics on campus in mid-January, although you should get your booster shot prior to coming to campus if at all possible.
Mandatory On-Campus COVID Testing Will Occur in January
All students, faculty, staff, and contractors who will be on campus at any point in January will be required to undergo COVID testing after returning to campus from winter break. Testing clinics offering PCR saliva tests will be scheduled and offered at no cost to community members. Details about testing clinics, including dates, location, and sign-up information, will be emailed as soon as it is available. Advance sign-ups will be required in order to reduce crowding, so please watch your email so that you can pick the testing time that works for you.
Thank you for all of your ongoing efforts to protect yourselves and others against COVID-19. We remain incredibly proud of how this community has come together over these last two years. Working together, we will successfully navigate the challenges of this newest surge for a successful spring semester.
If you have questions about these updates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish you all a restful and healthy holiday season.
The Executive Council