January 28, 2022 | NEWS | By Lily Weaver | Photo by Aida Hasson
As the 2022 spring semester commences, the Colorado College residence halls, classrooms, and quad fill with students eager to return to in-person campus life amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In order to do so, however, all students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus or submit a claim for exemption.
As of Jan. 18, 2022, 98% of faculty, 90.0% of staff, and 96.7% of students are fully vaccinated. These numbers are exceedingly high compared to the percentage of college and university students nationwide who have received just one of their COVID-19 vaccination doses, which was 74% as of Nov. 2021.
The Catalyst spoke with several CC students and a faculty member about their thoughts towards the COVID-19 booster requirement.
“The booster requirements are a good thing because I definitely put mine off, and it makes me feel slightly more comfortable that I have mine given that most of my friends that got COVID before break were not boosted,” said Cate Rosenbaum ’25. “I think the requirement is beneficial, but I do think the school is testing a little too often given the testing shortage going on in the country.”
Andie Berman ’24 agreed with Rosenbaum that the booster requirements are beneficial, but said she is “curious as to whether it will be necessary to get a second, third, fourth booster throughout the year.”
Berman went on to ask, “where will the school draw the line? When will they decide, if at all, it is no longer necessary to get a COVID-19 booster?”
Other students showed no ambivalence, demonstrating a solely optimistic view towards the college’s booster requirement.
“The booster requirement is only going to be beneficial to keeping campus alive and open like it was this past fall semester,” said Katherine Beard ’24. “I hope that everyone on campus is able to come together and follow the requirements to the best of their ability!”
“Boosters should be a necessary requirement for returning to campus unless someone has medical reasons to exempt them,” said Emma Bartholomay ’24.
“In the same way that, as a community, colleges have always mandated certain vaccines in the interest of serving the public health within the institution, as well as the surrounding and overlapping communities,” said Professor Matt Bowers, who teaches science and ethics.
“Requiring a COVID booster that has been shown to increase resistance to infection, decrease occurrence of serious symptoms, and generally slow transmission rates at a population level with minimal negative effects is completely reasonable,” Bowers said.
Although there seems to be an overall positive outlook surrounding the COVID-19 booster on campus, there remain concerns about the impact of the booster on the health and wellbeing of individuals.
CC men’s soccer player Alex Ward ’24 told The Catalyst that “as an athlete, I fully support the booster mandate because less outbreaks keep me healthy and allow me to keep playing my sport.”
However, not all CC athletes share in Ward’s sentiments. In a recent Gazette article, it is reported that “16 of the school’s Division I hockey players are reluctant to get the booster, even though it’s been encouraged by the coaching staff. Fears surrounding the link between vaccinations and heart problems in young men were cited.”
The Gazette article continued to state that, “initial communication from college officials said exemptions to the booster requirement for those who are fully vaccinated will not be allowed.” However, the actual ramifications of such non-compliance are still unclear.
It is CC’s responsibility to create clear guidelines regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, as well as prioritizing the health and well-being of students, staff, and faculty above all else.