By: Avigail Greenberg  | 

YU Announces Spring Semester to Begin In Person, Mandates COVID Booster Shot

The spring semester will begin in person at its scheduled date of Jan. 24 with a new mandate for students and staff to receive their COVID-19 booster shot, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Selma Botman announced in an email on Thursday evening. 

Botman explained that “studies have shown that neutralizing antibodies to COVID-19 begin to diminish six months after vaccination” and “booster vaccinations have proven to provide a significantly higher immune response.” Before the semester begins, students and staff will be required to submit verification that they received the shot. Anyone not eligible for the booster, such as those within six months of their original vaccination, must receive the shot within 30 days of their eligibility. 

Additionally, all students must submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of returning to campus or a negative rapid test taken within 48 hours. Botman also wrote that YU will continue its current masking policies and testing requirements for next semester. 

This announcement follows last week’s decision to move classes and final exams online beginning Wednesday, Dec. 24. Two days later, YU’s COVID-19 Tracker reported that over 100 students tested positive that week, split almost evenly between Wilf and Beren campuses.  

Botman’s email also noted that, over winter break, residence halls, libraries and athletic centers will remain open. Students on campus will be required to wear masks indoors and receive weekly, campus-given PCR tests. Those who participate in on-campus testing will not have to provide proof of a PCR test before the spring semester.  

Regarding staff, over winter break there will be a remote schedule decided by managers and their employees to reduce the number of people on campus, Botman said. Upon return, staff must also follow the guidelines for submitting a negative test. 

As of now, the current weekly testing mandate for students and random testing for staff will be in effect, and testing frequency will be “reassessed based on COVID numbers during the remainder of the school year,” Botman said. 

“We remain nimble in adjusting our infection-control protocols as necessary to meet the shifting landscape of COVID-19,” she assured. 

Photo Credit: Micah Pava