UB will require students to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus, Vice President for Student Life Brian Hamluk announced in an email Friday.
Students will also be required to submit documentation of a booster shot by Jan. 31. Students who are ineligible for a booster shot must receive one within one week of becoming eligible. Students will become eligible for a booster shot five months after completing a Pfizer vaccine series, six months after completing a Moderna vaccine series or two months after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC.
“With the changing nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, UB officials are keeping a close eye on the spread of the omicron variant around the state and in our region,” Hamluk wrote. “Our experts continue to monitor the latest scientific findings regarding the infectiousness of the variant and respond to the new challenges it poses.”
UB will conduct random surveillance testing on community members who haven’t received a booster dose and have “a regular physical presence on campus.” The university is now requiring new students to submit documentation of their vaccination status before allowing them to register for classes.
Hamluk also “advised” students to “strictly adhere to good health practices during the winter break and throughout the next semester.”
It remains unclear at this time how the university’s testing requirement will accommodate students who tested positive within the last three months and recovered, as they may still test positive for the virus despite not being contagious, according to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
The university’s new requirements follow Gov. Kathy Hochul’s New Year’s Eve announcement that she would require SUNY and CUNY students to receive a COVID-19 booster and faculty to complete a COVID-19 vaccine series.
Hamluk said that “more details are forthcoming” on the university’s COVID-19 plans and encouraged students to check UB’s COVID-19 planning and response site for updates.
CORRECTION: The Spectrum initially reported that students will be required to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their arrival on campus for the spring 2022 semester. That is inaccurate. Students must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus for the spring 2022 semester. We regret this error.
Grant Ashley is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant Ashley is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. He is a political science and (mediocre) Spanish double major. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on Twitter @Grantrashley.