George Mason University says the school will open as planned on Jan. 3, but with updated COVID-19 requirements for faculty, staff, and students.
In a letter sent from GMU President Gregory Washington on Friday, the university has set new requirements for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, quarantine and masks. The requirements apply to staff beginning Jan. 3, and for students who begin classes on Jan. 24.
VACCINES / BOOSTERS
Citing the ongoing spread of the omicron variant and recent scientific data, GMU said it will require COVID-19 booster vaccinations and proof of vaccination for all faculty, staff, and students that are eligible.
Since students were required to receive the first two vaccine doses for Fall semester by Aug. 1, 2021, GMU says Feb. 15 is the deadline for students to receive a booster and upload their documentation.
Faculty and staff are also required to receive their booster and provide documentation by Feb. 15.
Students who seek a medical or religious exemption from the boosters may apply for one. Those who received an exemption for the original round of vaccines do not need to reapply, unless their circumstances have changed.
On-campus boosters are available for free to all faculty, staff, and students at Fenwick Library A Wing, who can schedule an appointment at vaccine.gmu.edu.
All residential students — vaccinated or unvaccinated (with exemption) — are required to take a pre-arrival COVID-19 test, which will be supplied by the university. Those who test positive will not be able to move in until they have completed their isolation period and test negative for their move in test, and another test 48 hours later.
Faculty and staff — vaccinated or unvaccinated (with exemption) — who do not have a full-time remote work agreement, are required to be tested the week of Jan. 17, before returning to work.
GMU offers on-campus testing for students, faculty and staff. The university says “in addition to our regular testing hours, testing will be available on Saturday, Jan. 22 and Sunday, Jan. 23.”
You can visit GMU’s testing website for testing hours and locations.
ISOLATION / QUARANTINE
The university says it will align itself with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that reduced the previously required 10-day isolation and 14-day quarantine period to 5 days for those who test negative and are asymptomatic.
The university says they are seeking an “upgrade from cloth masks to at least surgical masks or even higher protective masks (i.e., N95, KN95, or KF94). We are working to obtain these newly recommended masks and will provide an update on their availability soon.”
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For more details on GMU’s updated COVID requirements, visit the George Mason University website.