American University, otherwise known as my employer, announced earlier today that they are requiring boosters of COVID-19 vaccines for all faculty, staff and students by February 10. The CDC recommends boosters for people who got the J&J shot at least two months ago or Pfizer/Moderna six months ago.
This follows the university’s aggressive strategy in preventing COVID outbreaks on campus. Prior to reopening in the Fall, everyone had to be vaccinated with students providing proof and faculty giving an attestation and details on their vaccination status. In light of the federal government’s new mandate, AU requires proof from all faculty.
Compliance rates have been extremely high with only a few excused for health or religious reasons. Faculty who have an approved health accommodation teach online. Virtually all faculty and staff meetings are still held online.
Finally, AU requires masks in all indoor spaces. My impression is that students have been terrific about complying with this understandable but nonetheless annoying requirement. Another key component of the university’s strategy has been easy access to testing. It’s a spit PCR test and AU uses an app that allows you to check in for a test and receive news about the results very easily.
AU hasn’t been COVID free but it has kept infections down among a population that normally spreads infections. Prior to COVID, my classes could sound like TB wards from all the coughing during flu season. Exactly one person from AU has been hospitalized. Infections rose as expected/feared when students went home and came back after Thanksgiving but by less than one might expect.
I may disagree with my employer on some issues but I fully support this approach that kept AU safe and open.