Rutgers students to be required to get COVID-19 booster to return to class

Students at Rutgers University will be required to have the booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by the time classes resume on Jan. 18.
The university also announced that students won’t be allowed to move back into their dorms until Jan. 29. The original date was Jan. 16. Classes will remain virtual until the end of the month where possible.
“It is upsetting. I do wish I was in person. I feel I learn better that way,” says junior Michele Rassavone.
Rassavone, who is coincidentally a pharmacy student, says that she feels the booster mandate is appropriate for a return to campus.
“Obviously two doses wasn’t enough for this variant, so any extra dose we can get, if it’s helpful, we definitely need it for coming back,” she says.
The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in New Jersey has doubled over the last week. Two days after Christmas there were 2,979 people hospitalized. That number jumped to 4,715 by Jan. 2.
“This Omicron tsunami has changed the game yet again,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
The state Department of Health is reporting approximately 25,000 new cases of COVID-19 statewide. That number is believed to be even higher because people who test positive with at-home tests are not reporting them to the Health Department.
The state is now offering public schools a chance to enter a new program called “Test to Stay.” It is geared toward keeping students who aren’t vaccinated in school by allowing them to be tested by the school. But there is one qualification.
"This test to stay option does not apply to exposures that occur outside of school and in the community,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
Students must also be asymptomatic in order to keep returning to the classroom. It'll be up to each district to decide if they will participate in the program.