Dear Graduate Students,
As the end of the semester approaches, professionals across the University are navigating the pandemic with a focus on the health and safety of our community and a commitment to providing an exceptional Jesuit, liberal arts education during the Spring 2022 semester. We are, of course, monitoring news of the omicron variant, recognizing we have a solid plan as a university and a community committed to health and safety.
COVID Booster Requirement
Our plan for the Spring 2022 semester will follow our Fall 2021 COVID Operations Plan. In addition, we will require COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all students participating in in-person classes or activities and all faculty, staff, and administrators—with the exception of those who have a medical or religious exemption approved by the University.
Students should upload proof of the booster vaccine to the Loyola Student Health Portal by Jan. 31, 2022. We encourage you not to wait if you are eligible for your booster sooner. If you will not be eligible in time to meet that deadline, please receive your booster as soon as you are eligible and submit documentation to the Loyola Student Health Portal. Student Health Services will reach out to you via email if you are not in compliance.
This decision follows the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all adults 18 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
The CDC advises that if your original vaccine was mRNA-based, you should receive a booster of either mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) six months after your second dose. If your original vaccine was viral vector-based (Johnson & Johnson), you should receive a booster of either mRNA or viral vector vaccine two months after your initial vaccine.
Student Health Services partnered with Giant to offer a booster vaccine clinic on the Evergreen campus last week and will hold another on Wednesday, Dec. 15. All appointments were taken quickly for both those clinics. We will work to offer more opportunities for members of our community to make it convenient for everyone to receive their booster shots. If you are eligible, please consider getting your booster over the Christmas break.
If you have questions about your eligibility, reach out to Student Health Services at email@example.com. New incoming students should coordinate these requirements with Student Health Services.
Surveillance Testing: During the first two weeks of the semester, we will increase surveillance testing of vaccinated members of our community. All those with exemptions from vaccinations will continue to be tested weekly through the semester.
Indoor Masking: Indoor masking is required until further notice. Masks will be required everywhere indoors except while eating in designated dining areas. If Baltimore City lifts the current indoor mask mandate, Loyola would consider campus metrics—the number of students in isolation, transmission rates among students, etc.—before determining whether to lift the indoor mask mandate on Loyola’s campuses.
As you work toward completing this semester, I hope you are proud of all you are achieving. Good luck with your final exams and projects. Please know that the faculty, staff, and administrators are here to support you along the way.
Amanda M. Thomas, Ph.D.