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Radford University, Roanoke College to require boosters for spring semester

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Radford University joined Virginia Tech and numerous other colleges with a decision to require COVID-19 booster shots for students as the spring semester approaches.

Radford made the announcement on its website Thursday, while also outlining other protocols for the semester that begins Jan. 18.

The school is expanding its vaccine mandate to include the requirement of booster shots for students within 14 days days of eligibility, according to the announcement.

Fully vaccinated students currently at or beyond the booster eligibility window will have to provide documentation of receiving the booster by no later than Feb.15.

Students not yet eligible to receive a booster must do so and provide documentation within 14 days of eligibility, according to the announcement.

Students enrolled in a fully online program with no in-person engagement or physical presence on campus remain exempt from the vaccine and booster requirement, as do students previously receiving a medical or religious exemption for the vaccine.

Eligible students that do not provide required documentation may be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing and may not be eligible to register for future semesters.

The same is true for faculty and staff, except staff are not at risk of losing their jobs, but will have to go through weekly testing, according to the announcement.

The mask mandate that requires all to wear a mask while indoors on campus is still in effect, according to the school’s website.

Isolation and quarantine procedures will remain at 10 days, though the school may use updated CDC guidelines in certain instances.

“The updated CDC guidance related to isolation and quarantine provides options to shorten either period, the announcement states. “The updated guidance also expands quarantine to include vaccinated individuals who have a known exposure and are eligible for the booster but have not yet received it.

“When circumstances are appropriate, the University may apply these shortened timeframes for isolation and quarantine followed by a period of strict wearing of a well-fitted face mask.”

Boosters will be available, at no cost, to interested students, faculty, staff or contractors during entry testing on the main campus between 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 13-16, according to the university. Boosters will be available, at no cost, to interested students, faculty, staff or contractors at Radford University Carilion in Roanoke on Jan. 21.

Roanoke College will also require boosters for its students for the upcoming semester, according to the Salem school’s website.

Those eligible for the booster must show proof that they received the shot by Jan. 31, the website reads.

Additionally, due to the high level of cases in the area and around the nation, the school is implementing a phased return for the spring semester that will take place starting Jan. 15.

“We plan to start the semester on time with classes beginning Jan. 18. However, we will begin most classes online, allowing students to move to campus in controlled phases,” a statement from President Michael Maxey reads. “Select studio and lab classes will be held in person, and students in those classes will be contacted directly.

“Our plan is to have all students back on campus by Jan. 30 and return to in-person classes on Jan. 31. The academic calendar is unchanged.”

University of Virginia officials announced Friday the deadline for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots is being moved to Jan. 14 to assure students, faculty and staff are at maximum resistance to the omicron variant that has fueled the recent surge of cases.

Officials made the announcement Friday in an email message to the UVa community. The deadline was Feb. 1.

More detailed information on each school’s plans can be found on their respective websites.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress contributed to this report.


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