Colorado Boulder students have a month to complete COVID-19 booster mandate to take in-person classes

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University of Colorado Boulder students have just over a month to get their COVID-19 booster shots or go remote for the remainder of the semester.

Colorado Boulder is one of many schools across the U.S. that is requiring students to get an additional round of the vaccine as in-person learning returns amid rising omicron cases.

“To comply with CU Boulder’s updated COVID-19 guidance, members of the campus community are required to receive a vaccine booster shot by Feb. 24 or five months after receiving the final dose of the original series, whichever is later,” the university’s website states.

Cloud striations form above Williams Village East dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder while incoming freshmen move in on Aug. 18, 2020, in Boulder, Colorado. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Students and staff must submit proof of their vaccine boosters online or file exemptions based on “medical, ethical or moral grounds.”

The university delayed its spring semester reopening after winter break to Jan. 24 due to devastation caused by the Marshall Fire in Boulder County and omicron.

“Because of the impacts of the fires, in combination with concerns about the COVID-19 omicron variant, the broader Boulder area is not in a position to welcome back thousands of students over the next week,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a Dec. 31 letter. “The remote start will allow us to provide the support needed to our impacted students, faculty and staff. It will also help us provide resources in support of community wide recovery efforts.”

Two homes burn after being consumed by wildfire in the Centennial Heights neighborhood on Dec. 30, 2021, in Louisville, Colorado. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

DiStefano added in the December letter that the school was strongly encouraging booster shots. By Tuesday, the school decided to require booster shots for all students and staff. School officials said in a Tuesday notice that boosters “will help ensure we are able to conduct the rest of the spring term as planned and will help protect those in the surrounding community who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Students and staff can receive free booster shots at the school’s wellness center.

Placards advise physical distancing guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic while directing incoming freshmen moving into a campus dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder on Aug. 18, 2020, in Boulder, Colorado. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

More than 92% of the university’s campus community members have already received the original vaccine.

Colorado’s COVID-19 cases have surged to record highs, with a seven-day average of about 13,000 positive cases, and a two-week average of more than 2,700 cases per 100,000 people. The city has recorded a seven-day average of 335 hospitalizations. Just over 20% of ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health.

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