Salisbury University students and employees must receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot or test twice-weekly to maintain access to campus facilities during the spring semester, Director of Student Health Services Victoria Lentz announced during President Charles Wight’s COVID-19 briefing Thursday.
Campus community members who were administered the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine must receive their booster within 90 days of their original shot. Those who were administered the Moderna or Pfizer two-dose vaccines must receive their boosters within eight months of their second shot.
“Getting a booster is important because, as with most seasonal vaccines, effectiveness may diminish over time and as the virus mutates,” Lentz said.
SU students, faculty and staff at least 18 years old may register to receive their booster shot here.
Lentz said the University Health Team is continuing to evaluate SU's face mask mandate for the spring and expects restrictions to be lifted in some areas of campus, not including classrooms.
All SU students and employees will also be required to receive a COVID-19 test on their first day returning to campus following winter break to maintain access to university facilities, Lentz said.
With multiple cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant now detected in Maryland, a potential rise in cases fueled by the new strain both nationally and within the Salisbury community will impact SU’s spring semester coronavirus prevention policies moving forward.
Wicomico County’s COVID-19 positivity rate of over 8% remains higher than most counties across the Eastern Shore, with Maryland’s overall case rate registering at 5.4%, per SU’s coronavirus dashboard.
SU’s coronavirus positivity rate has remained below 1% since banning all unvaccinated students, faculty and staff from campus in early September.
“[SU] is still the safest place in the county to be,” Wight said. “I am encouraged that our high vaccination rates, regular testing and in-house contact tracing and other safety protocols are continuing to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus.”
Chief of Staff Eli Modlin said there is currently “no expectation” for a transition to fully virtual instruction in the spring.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Brad Boardman.