Bowdoin College Staff Photo by John Patriquin

Bowdoin College announced Wednesday that all students, faculty and staff will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster before returning to campus for the spring semester.

“The vaccines are highly effective and are our most powerful tools in protecting the health and safety of everyone here and in Brunswick,” wrote Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose in an announcement to the Bowdoin community. “If you have already received an approved exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination, you will continue to be exempt from this requirement.”

The mandate becomes effective Jan. 21, 2022, and gives students 30 days to receive the shot upon becoming eligible. Spring semester classes begin at Bowdoin College on Monday, Jan. 24.

“Today, Maine is reporting 1,275 new cases of COVID-19—the highest number of new cases reported in a single day. COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the state also reached an all-time high this week, with 367 people hospitalized, including 110 in intensive care and 59 patients on ventilators,” Rose wrote.

“The data also show that roughly two-thirds of these serious cases involve Mainers who are not vaccinated, and that those hospitalized who have been fully vaccinated are generally older or have chronic medical conditions. The head of the Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah, has pointed out that unvaccinated people with COVID-19 are twelve times more likely to end up in the hospital and eleven times more likely to die from the virus.”

Eligible individuals include those who received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago, and those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago, according to the announcement.

The college also announced a partnership with Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick to provide a COVID-19 booster clinic on campus next week for students, faculty and staff. The clinic will be held at the Farley Field House on Dec. 13, 15 and 17 from 8 a.m. to noon. The college also scheduled a second booster clinic for the week of Jan. 17.

All student, faculty and staff will also be required to take a COVID-19 test when returning to campus in January.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 8, there were nine active cases of COVID-19 at Bowdoin College made up of eight students and one employee. In total, 87 cases of the virus have been identified on the college’s campus during the fall 2020 semester.

Bowdoin College is the second Maine college or university to make boosters a requirement behind Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, according to a report from The Bangor Daily News. St. Joesph’s made the announcement on Oct. 4.

According to Bowdoin College Spokesperson Doug Cook, classes end at Bowdoin for the fall semester on Friday, and exams begin Wednesday.

“At this point, students know their exam schedules and have been asked to arrange booster appointments accordingly,” wrote Cook in an email. “Students can request to reschedule an exam in the case of serious health or personal issues and would reach out to their faculty in these instances.”

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