December 24, 2021
With the omicron variant quickly ripping through college campuses across the nation, some institutions of higher education in Philly have amended their plans for when school starts again after the holidays.
Many schools are requiring students, staff and faculty to be "fully vaccinated," although there's some disagreement among schools as to whether that includes a third dose. Even schools that aren't requiring boosters are generally strongly recommending them.
Many schools are providing students and staff opportunities to exempt themselves from the vaccine requirement on medical or religious grounds.
The University of Pennsylvania canceled all in-person indoor social gatherings on Dec. 9 after it saw COVID-19 cases rise on its campus. Then on Dec. 15, the school moved all in-person finals scheduled for the week of Dec. 20 and beyond online.
Both students and faculty at Penn are required to receive the booster by Monday, Jan. 31.
The university has not made any announcements about its spring semester, which starts on Wednesday, Jan. 12, being partly or fully online.
The University of the Arts is requiring students who are eligible to receive the booster by Jan. 10 so that the doses will be in full effect when the spring semester begins on Monday, Jan. 24.
Eligible faculty and staff are also required to get a booster at least two weeks before they plan to return to campus.
Those who will not be eligible for a booster on Jan. 10 per CDC guidelines are expected to get a booster within 30 days of becoming eligible.
Drexel University is also requiring students, staff and faculty to get the booster by Jan. 3, the first day of its winter quarter.
Additionally, the school will hold the first week of the semester virtually with a few exceptions.
In the College of Medicine, third- and fourth-year medical students are expected to report to their clinical rotations as scheduled. Also, the Kline Law School's first day of classes planned for Jan. 10 will be in person.
Temple University is going even further than Drexel by holding all classes virtually through Jan. 21, even though the first day of the semester is Monday, Jan. 10. Additionally, the move-in date for the school's residence halls has been pushed back to Saturday, Jan. 22.
Temple has not released a policy requiring students, faculty or staff to get a booster shot but is strongly encouraging it at this point.
All students, faculty and staff were required to have a full course of the initial two Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by Nov. 15.
Villanova University will have mandatory testing for all students, faculty and staff returning to campus for the first day of classes on Monday, Jan. 10.
All on-campus students and full-time graduate students will be tested between Jan. 10 and Jan. 21. Students participating in sorority will be tested on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6.
On-campus faculty and staff will be tested on Jan. 6 and Jan. 7. If they aren't available then, they'll be tested the week of Jan. 10.
All students, staff and faculty are required to have received two shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two weeks before arriving on campus.
The school is also now requiring all eligible students, faculty and staff to get a booster shot. Documentation of this must be uploaded to Villanova's secure portal by Jan. 31.
When Rowan University students return to classes in person on Tuesday, Jan. 18, they are required to have received two shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All staff faculty are expected to do the same.
It's recommending but not requiring that everyone on campus get a booster shot.
Where possible, Rutgers will hold classes virtually from the first day of the semester on Tuesday, Jan. 18 until Monday, Jan. 31, when all students, staff and faculty are expected to return to the university's campuses. Faculty and staff who can are encouraged to commute virtually until Jan. 31 if possible.
Additionally, the return to student housing has been pushed back from Jan. 16 and 17 to Jan. 29 and 30.
Still, the university and its clinics, libraries and research operations are currently open and will remain available through this virtual period.
All students, staff and faculty are required to have received two shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Plans to require a booster were announced on Jan. 4.
All students who are eligible must receive a booster by Jan. 31 and upload proof online. Those moving back into residence halls must have received a booster before then and are encouraged to upload their proof by Jan. 15. Staff and faculty will also be required to get a booster shot. More information about that will be emailed to them later this week.
LaSalle University is planning to bring students, staff and faculty back to campus on the first of the spring semester, which is Tuesday, Jan. 19.
St. Joseph's University has not put out an announcement about changing its plans for the spring semester. Students will return for the first day of classes on Tuesday, Jan. 19.