Rutgers Requires Vaccine Boosters for Employees and Students 

Trey A. Dix (RWJMS '22)
Trey A. Dix (RWJMS '22) received a dose of vaccine at the Rutgers vaccine clinic at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Jan. 31 deadline for proof of boosters among changes due to Omicron variant

The Jan. 31 deadline for faculty, staff and students to meet the requirement to receive a vaccine booster is approaching as part of Rutgers’ response to a spike in COVID-19 cases propelled by the Omicron variant.

“The data and the science surrounding the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the dramatic spread of the Omicron variant, require that we adapt to the evolving situation without sacrificing our goal of returning to a campus experience that is robust, rewarding and safe,” said Antonio M. Calcado, Rutgers executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We are requiring vaccine boosters and making other adjustments to operations because the health and safety of our community remain our top priority.”

All employees who are eligible must receive a vaccine booster and upload proof by Jan. 31 as the university community prepares to return to campus. If employees have not already received boosters, they can find information on scheduling appointments on the university’s COVID-19 information page. Rutgers is a vaccine administration site and offers boosters at no cost at three campus clinics.

Employees who have received medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine requirement are exempt from the booster requirement. Employees who have recently tested positive may extend the booster deadline by 90 days from the date of a positive COVID test. The application process can be found on Rutgers Institutional Planning and Operations' website.

Students are also required to obtain a booster vaccination as soon as eligible. Eligibility for a booster is defined as six months after the last mRNA vaccine or two months after a J&J vaccine. Students must upload proof of the booster to the vaccine portal by Jan. 31. More information on scheduling a booster at the university can be found on the Rutgers COVID-19 information page. Students with approved medical or religious exemptions are excused from the booster requirement, and the booster deadline is also extended for students who have recently tested positive for COVID by 90 days from the date of positive tests.

The booster requirement is among significant changes announced to the university community in early January, including temporarily converting in-person classes to remote instruction as the spring semester begins this week through Jan. 30.

In addition, the return to on-campus housing for students is moved to Jan. 29 and Jan. 30. An in-person pause in the return to campus for all but essential employees has been extended to Jan. 30, as well.

President Jonathan Holloway noted Tuesday in his welcome message to the university community that classes and many administrative functions and activities are beginning the semester in a remote manner as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is peaking to limit its spread to more vulnerable populations.

“But I am glad to say that I expect we will be back, in person, beginning January 31,” Holloway said. “We believe that this relatively short delay will be long enough to help our community move past the worst of Omicron safely without affecting the pace of the semester.”

Calcado noted that protocols will change as university leaders consult with public health agencies and assess data, including the number of positive cases in New Jersey, COVID-19 hospitalizations, state and regional hospital capacity, and the severity of the dominant variant. Updates will continue to be available on the university’s COVID-19 website.