Chico State requiring students and staff to receive booster shot

CHICO — Chico State is one of the 23 campuses in the California State University system that is requiring all students and staff to receive the COVID-19 booster shot ahead of the spring semester.

The CSU announced Wednesday that it will require faculty, staff and students who are accessing university facilities or programs to receive a vaccine booster shot in order to be fully immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and in compliance with the university’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to a press release.

The new requirement calls for boosters to be received by Feb. 28, 2022 or six months after an individual received the final dose of the original vaccination, whichever is later. However, individual campuses may establish an earlier date for compliance for students and non-represented employees based on local circumstances, according to the release.

According to Chico State director of the pandemic management team and emergency operations Mike Guzzi, effective immediately, the team is encouraging students and staff to get the booster before the holiday period and no later than February 28 or six months after receiving the first shot.

“We have a 90 percent vaccination rate,” Guzzi said. “With these proactive steps we were able to hold the fall semester classes in-person with little COVID-19 impact.”

Guzzi said that the campus held a booster clinic at the Bell Memorial Union two weeks ago and 1,560 booster shots were given out. There will be another booster clinic held at Bell Memorial Union Feb. 1 and 2. Chico State also has a COVID-19 testing site.

“We want to protect students and employees as much as possible,” Guzzi said. “I think this is great; I’m excited about the booster requirements.”

Guzzi said he hopes that in-person classes will continue for the spring semester beginning in January.

“We feel good at this time,” Guzzi said. “We want to get through this post-holiday bump.”

Guzzi said there is a system in place where students can upload their vaccination cards to prove that they have had the shots. They are provided with a link to do so. Guzzi also said that due to religious or medical exemptions, 700 to 800 students were approved for exemptions.

“We will always have students that are unvaccinated, but we are taking proactive steps with masking and testing to help stem against anyone who is unvaccinated,” Guzzi said.

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro weighed in on vaccinations in the press release.

“Vaccination, including a booster when eligible, remains our most effective strategy against infection and severe disease,” said Castro. “This is particularly important in light of the rapid rise of cases of COVID-19 throughout the state and nation as the Omicron variant spreads. Implementing the booster requirement now will help mitigate the potential spread of the variant on campuses as they repopulate in January after the winter break.”

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