Gustavus COVID-19 Policy Change | Boosters Required

A new policy relating to vaccine boosters.
Posted on January 12th, 2022 by

TO: The Gustavus Community
FROM: President Bergman
SUBJECT: Gustavus COVID-19 Policy Change | Boosters Required
DATE: January 12, 2022

Given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased case numbers due to the heightened transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the President’s Cabinet, in partnership with the COVID-19 Response Leadership Team and Faculty Emergency Planning Committee, is instituting a new policy relating to vaccine boosters. 

 Beginning on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, which is the first day of spring semester, all students, faculty, and staff who are eligible for a vaccination booster will be required to either have received the booster or to test weekly for COVID-19. According to data from the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) system, 58% of our campus community has already received a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

 This change is being instituted in light of updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about what constitutes an individual who is best protected by the vaccine or post-infection immunity. Those individuals now include: 

  • those within two months of having completed one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine;

  • those within five months of having completed two doses of the Pfizer vaccine;

  • those within five months of having completed two doses of the Moderna vaccine;

  • those who are eligible and have received a booster vaccine; and

  • those who are still within their 90 day window after a documented COVID-19 infection.

 Starting the week of February 14, students, faculty, and staff who do not fall into one of these five categories will be required to complete a COVID-19 PCR test each week. Please note that there is no waiting period after receiving the booster before you are considered fully covered; as soon as you receive the booster, you have fulfilled the requirement. 

For the small number of students, faculty, and staff who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, the weekly testing requirement will remain in place. I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated unless you have a documented medical reason that precludes you from doing so. Being vaccinated is the single best step you can take to protect yourself and others from contracting a serious or deadly case of COVID-19.

If you receive a booster vaccination in Minnesota, record of your vaccination status will automatically be sent to the Gustavus Health Service through the secure Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) system. Please check the Gustavus Health Portal BEFORE uploading documentation. If your booster is on file, you do not need to do anything else. If you do not see your booster on file, then you can upload documentation of your booster vaccine status to the Gustavus Health Portal.

If you are boosted in a different state or outside of the United States, you must upload documentation of your booster vaccine status to the Gustavus Health Portal. The Gustavus Health Service will begin privately contacting members of the community for whom the College does not have proof of vaccination the week of January 24.

For those looking for a booster in the Saint Peter/Mankato area, local pharmacies Hyvee and Family Fresh have appointments available. Nicollet County Public Health is offering Walk-In COVID vaccine clinics on January 13, 20, and 27 from 1-5 p.m. at the Saint Peter Health and Human Services office located at 622 S. Front Street in Saint Peter (no appointment is necessary and the vaccine is free). You can also find options using the State of Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector.

As always, we will continue to adjust on-campus protocols as necessary in conversation with the Minnesota Department of Health and in response to updated CDC guidance.

Gusties, I know that we are all dealing with COVID-19 fatigue and that each of us wants nothing more than to put this pandemic behind us. I ask for your continued commitment to helping our community live and learn on campus as safely as possible by getting boosted, properly wearing a mask at all times, and filling out the College’s COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form if you test positive.

We continue with these efforts to keep teaching and learning in person and preserve a more typical residential student campus experience. Thank you for your continued resilience.

Yours in community,

President Bergman

 

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