CANTON — All employees at St. Lawrence University were notified Thursday by senior staff that they would be required to be fully vaccinated and fortified against COVID-19 under an updated policy.
They have until January 28, 30 days after being entitled to a booster, to upload proof of vaccination. They can also request a medical or religious exemption from the policy.
“Booster shots continue to be one of the most effective ways to protect our community from COVID-19,” the university said in its post this week. “There is still strong evidence that people who have been vaccinated and given the booster are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they test positive. Meanwhile, those who have not been vaccinated or boosted are much more likely to suffer more serious consequences, including hospitalization and even death.
Employees had been made aware of the possible change in the university’s vaccination policy. They received a message on Dec. 21 from senior executives advising them that a change to the vaccination policy announced in the fall was under consideration. Employees were allowed to submit anonymous feedback until January 7.
“The overall response to the proposed policy has been favorable by a significant margin,” the post read. “While we also heard concerns about the proposed policy, these did not outweigh concerns about the safety of our community.”
The final policy is posted on the university’s website.
SLU had announced a recall requirement for students on Dec. 21. It requires all students to be fully vaccinated with a booster. The university also requires unvaccinated students with medical and religious exemptions to undergo weekly testing and possible random surveillance testing throughout the semester.
At Clarkson University in Potsdam, all employees and students were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting last June. Since Dec. 22, Clarkson has required that all students and employees accessing a campus or university facility receive a booster shot, if eligible, before returning to work or starting the spring semester, or as soon as they become eligible during the spring semester. .
SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton are following SUNY’s statewide guidelines released Dec. 31 by Governor Kathleen C. Hochul for the spring semester. He says that all students who are not fully distanced must provide booster injection documentation in order to take classes.
The governor’s directives included pursuing a student vaccination mandate as well as a requirement that all students who regularly access SUNY campuses receive the COVID-19 booster for the spring semester.
Additional requirements for students include mandatory pre-testing prior to their semester return, which will apply to all students who plan to access campus regularly. Students who are on campus regularly and who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster must now receive one for the spring semester.
All SUNY faculty will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under the direction of Governor Hochul.
Alexandra M. Jacobs-Wilke, director of public relations for SUNY Potsdam, said the university continues to urge reminders for all of its faculty and staff, and keeps them informed of vaccination and booster clinics.
She said proof of vaccination is currently not required for employees, but those who provide it are exempt from mandatory weekly testing, although they can still choose to test if they wish.
As of this week, 86% of university employees have voluntarily provided documentation showing that they have been vaccinated on campus, although this percentage may be higher as some may not have provided the documentation or have been recently vaccinated.