DENVER — Changes announced Friday to Metropolitan State University of Denver's (MSU) health and safety protocols said that all students and staff employees must be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. In addition, mandatory testing for unvaccinated students is suspended.
MSU said the change came after consulting with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
>> Video above: COVID boosters required at some Colorado colleges
Students both enrolled in on-campus, and online-only courses must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and boosted within 30 days of the CDC's defined eligibility. The first COVID-19 booster deadline for students is Feb. 15.
MSU said no action is necessary to verify vaccine booster status, given most students' status will update through the State of Colorado's immunization database. They said if additional action is necessary, an MSU Denver email will come.
Students are asked to complete a mandatory daily health assessment before coming to campus and not to come to campus if they are not feeling well.
Mandatory testing for unvaccinated students is suspended, MSU said Friday, based on these reasons:
- Unvaccinated people are more likely to transmit previous COVID-19 variants; however, the omicron variant is highly transmissible regardless of vaccination status. This makes screening testing for unvaccinated people much less effective.
- Vital testing resources are limited, and it is in the best interest of public health to maximize those resources for the symptomatic, exposed and vulnerable.
- This move will increase testing capacity and allow all members of the MSU community to adhere to CDC-recommended protocols for testing related to symptoms and/or exposure.
Other schools in Colorado made changes to their policies surrounding COVID-19 vaccines in late 2021.
Regis University required boosters when students and faculty returned to campus from winter break. University officials said everyone had until Feb. 1 to get their dose. In December, Regis said 95% of the campus was vaccinated with the first two doses.
"We know with the Omicron variant and its high infection rate that it's incumbent upon us to encourage our folks to not only get vaccines but boosters so that we can provide a safe environment," spokesperson Todd Cohen said. "We expect high compliance, I think people get it."
The University of Denver said they are giving students until Jan. 31 to get their vaccine. The deadline is mostly because doses in certain areas are hard to find. The university said in December that about 97% of the campus was vaccinated with the first two doses.
"We have heard it's taking a few weeks for people to find a booster dose vaccine sometime in some areas," COVID Response Coordinator Sarah Watamura said. "If they are eligible we will have vaccine doses on campus so that access issue should not be a problem once they return in January."
The University of Colorado Boulder said in December they do not require boosters but strongly encourage them. Colorado State University said their pandemic team is discussing options, but the booster is not a requirement right now.
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