USM Requires COVID Boosters for Residential Students
Baltimore, Md. (Jan. 7, 2022) – The University System of Maryland (USM) announced today that all students living on a USM campus during the spring 2022 semester must receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine—a “booster shot”—in addition to their initial round of vaccination. Students who have been exempted from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate are not subject to this booster requirement.
Each USM institution will share its implementation details for residential students—including deadlines for receiving the booster shot and how to verify vaccination status—as well as any additional COVID protocols for the broader campus community.
The CDC indicates that an initial round of vaccination plus a booster shot provides optimal protection against COVID, and the USM strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to get a booster as soon as they’re eligible.
We recognize that individuals in congregate housing are at the greatest risk for contracting the coronavirus, particularly the highly transmissible Omicron variant. We recognize, as well, the enormous operational challenges posed to our institutions should they have to isolate, quarantine, and care for large numbers of students in the event of an outbreak in campus housing.
Recent data show that boosters offer added protection against COVID, reducing symptom severity, including in cases of Omicron infection. Our available vaccines shorten the duration of illness and infectiousness, reducing transmissibility and spread in settings such as congregate housing.
Our USM universities have done an extraordinary job of responding to the COVID pandemic. Systemwide, vaccination rates among students, faculty, and staff are high, and disease positivity rates are low compared to surrounding communities.
With the USM’s public health experts, we continue to analyze the latest COVID data and policy developments, so that our institutions can approach the spring 2022 semester with the best information possible guiding their decisions. We look forward to a safe and productive spring term.
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Contact: Mike Lurie