On Monday, Marymount University administrators shared with its community members an enhanced COVID-19 vaccination policy that will require a booster shot for all students, faculty and staff who will be physically present on campus during the upcoming semester, a precautionary measure designed to ensure the best possible protection against the virus.
The institution is requiring proof of a booster shot by January 18, 2022, or within two weeks of booster eligibility. The Pfizer booster shot, which is recommended following initial shots of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, will be available by appointment for all Marymount students and employees at the on-campus Student Health Center. Community members also have the option to receive the booster shot off campus in locations such as doctor’s offices, clinics and pharmacies.
Prior to the University returning to a fully in-person learning and living model for the Fall 2021 semester, it required COVID-19 vaccination for all community members and offered on-campus vaccine clinics to provide efficient access. This policy resulted in an eventual 98 percent vaccination rate across the institution – and over the course of the semester, only 40 positive COVID-19 cases were reported on campus overall.
“Our outstanding vaccination rate is a credit to all of our University members, who since the beginning have demonstrated a commitment to stopping the spread,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Here at Marymount, we are well known for our core value of service to others. By receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, you are protecting not just yourself but those around you as well from serious health complications. In the face of an ongoing, dangerous pandemic, what better way to demonstrate your servant’s heart?”
“Throughout the semester and going back to the beginning of the pandemic, we have prioritized the health and safety of our campus community above all else,” added Dr. Laura Finkelstein, Associate Vice President of Student Health and Well-Being and Title IX Coordinator at Marymount University. “This policy decision is in line with our goal of maintaining protection for our students, faculty and staff against COVID-19, and is a proactive step in keeping us ahead of potential disruptions from the Omicron variant.”
Marymount approved a very limited number of medical and religious exemptions to the vaccination policy during the fall semester, based on stringent standards. Those exemptions, and any approved for newly-admitted Spring students, will be upheld for the Spring 2022 semester, but no other exemptions will be granted at this time. Those who have received an exemption must be tested weekly for COVID-19 during the spring semester.
In addition to the booster requirement, Marymount is requiring students to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before they return to campus following the upcoming holiday break. During the Spring 2022 semester, the University is planning to once again coordinate a random COVID-19 testing program community-wide as well to limit the spread of the virus.