Rules for COVID-19 tests, boosters discussed in 10-minute presentation

President Mark Anarumo on Wednesday explained Spring 2022 arrival protocols in an Update from the Hill video, saying the university remains devoted to in-person learning. To keep learning in person, he said, the university must follow local, state and federal health officials’ guidelines and assure health and safety for students, faculty, staff and neighboring communities.

“We have got to keep going,” Anarumo said, adding that students need in-person learning for their academic, spiritual, emotional and social well-being. “A lot of our students stumbled during a not-in-person experience for their student life. … We recovered most of that in the fall of ’21 and we have to continue that. … With all of your support, that will be very successful.”

A top priority, Anarumo said, is avoiding spring 2021’s scenario, when 32 students arrived COVID-19-positive, leading to spiking case counts and in-room quarantine.

“We’re going to do this together, we’re going to have a great term.” Norwich University President Mark Anarumo

To keep Norwich in person for the spring, Anarumo said students, faculty and staff must:

— Test negative for COVID-19. All students must submit a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test before arrival; tests must be collected within 72 hours of students’ arrival date. Students who come to campus untested can test on arrival. Faculty and staff will also need a negative test to return to campus. Anarumo said Vermonters can visit for free PCR test sites. On-campus PCR tests will start Friday at Doyle Hall.

doyle hall min
Doyle Hall will host COVD-19 testing starting Friday. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

— Have boosters. Norwich University is requiring a vaccine booster as part of the vaccination mandate for all students, faculty and staff unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption. A vaccine booster is required as soon as each student and employee is eligible. In Wednesday’s video, Anarumo said COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy with boosters is near 70%, and significantly less without them. Furthermore, he said, boosters significantly reduce the risk of severe symptoms and the need for hospitalization.

Vermont sites to get boosters are here.

Booster eligibility is roughly defined as:

  • Six months after second dose of an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) or
  • Two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Anarumo said the university plans to have on-campus COVID-19 booster clinics.

Norwich University’s full Spring 2020 arrival protocols are here.

“We’re going to do this together, we’re going to have a great term,” Anarumo said, “and we’re going to give these wonderful men and women (who) are our students the experience they deserve.”

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