NEW JERSEY - Rutgers University in New Jersey is now requiring all students, faculty, and staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as they become eligible. The new rule applies to everyone unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
"I think it's prudent we do this," Rutgers Chief Operating Officer Antonio Calcado said. "We think it's a small price to pay for safety."
He also announced another sweeping change. The university was scheduled to resume in-class learning on Jan. 18 but will now go remote until Jan. 31.
"We're going remote until Jan. 31 — we're not allowing people to move into the dorms until the 29th," Calcado said.
University officials say they are following the science and the omicron surge.
"As we saw this explosion with omicron and hospital beds filling up and really putting a lot of pressure on all of the different systems, we thought, 'Let's take a pause here,'" Calcado said.
Rutgers has about 100,000 faculty, staff, and students. In a message to the university community, the university said all employees and students will have to provide proof of their vaccination status indicating that they've received the booster.
"Those students who are now eligible must obtain a vaccine booster by January 31, 2022, and proof of the booster must be uploaded to the vaccine portal by that date," Rutgers stated in its message. "Students residing on campus are strongly encouraged to upload their status by January 15, 2022."
Several other universities in New Jersey and New York — including Columbia, Cornell, and Princeton — are requiring students to be vaccinated and boosted.
With FOX 5 NY Staff.