The University System of Maryland announced that all students living on a USM campus during the spring 2022 semester must receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine—a “booster shot”—if they are eligible. Students with approved medical or religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate are not subject to this booster requirement.
We recognize that individuals in congregate housing are at the greatest risk for contracting the coronavirus, particularly the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Recent data show that boosters offer added protection against COVID, reducing symptom severity, including in cases of Omicron infection. The available vaccines reportedly shorten the duration of illness and infectiousness, reducing transmissibility and spread in settings such as congregate housing.
We understand that you may have questions and concerns regarding this requirement and UMBC is currently working on a plan that supports our students and families. Below you will find commonly asked questions about the booster and testing procedures for the Spring 2022 Semester.
All residential students, except those with approved exemptions, must be fully vaccinated, including a booster, to live in the residential community this Spring 2022 semester. Fully vaccinated includes a booster vaccine, if you are eligible. A chart explaining when you are eligible for a booster is available here.
Why do residents have to be boosted (what about commuters, faculty, and staff)?
UMBC will require boosters for all community members. This is particularly important for residential students. With the CDC’s newest revised quarantine guidance, individuals with an exposure to COVID-19 must quarantine unless they are fully vaccinated, including a booster dose. Given close living quarters, the fact that roommates cannot consistently mask and distance in their rooms, and the potential for high transmission rates in residence halls, we expect the odds of a COVID-19 exposure will be higher for residential students. The booster requirement should significantly decrease the need for quarantine.
Eligible students should schedule their booster vaccination now through community resources or on-campus. Those who are not currently eligible should schedule as close to eligible date as possible. For challenges or more specific questions, students should email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the deadline. Compliance staff will work with students on a case-by-case basis to determine next steps and options for remaining in residence.
Can I request an exemption from receiving the booster shot?
What is the deadline to report my booster?
All eligible residents should schedule, vaccinate, and report status to UMBC by move-in or first opportunity due to appointment availability or eligibility. As a result, deadlines will vary by eligibility circumstance. Those eligible now should schedule, vaccinate, and report by or immediately following residential move-in, January 30. With additional questions, please contact email@example.com prior to the deadline. Our staff will work with students on a case-by-case basis to determine next steps and options for compliance.
How do I report my booster?
Students have two options for reporting their booster:
What are the benefits of getting my booster?
- Ensures you may participate in Fall 2022 registration when available
- Getting boosted and reporting it “unlocks” your access to participate in Housing Selection.
- It reduces your likelihood of having to relocate to quarantine housing if you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19.
What could happen if I do not get my booster?
- Students who are not in compliance with the booster:
- Are not eligible to participate in housing selection or relicense for the 2022-2023 academic year.
- May be prevented from Fall 2022 registration when available.
Can I cancel my spring housing if I do not intend to get a booster or have concerns related to changes rates COVID cases?
We appreciate that our students and families are facing many unique decisions during these challenging times and we are committed to supporting you. If your plans have changed and you wish to cancel your on-campus housing assignment, please submit an RT Ticket (https://reslife.umbc.edu/contact-us/) before January 28, 2022 requesting housing release/cancellation.
COVID Testing at Spring Semester Move-In
If I test independently before I arrive, do I need to test on January 30 or when I move in?
Yes, all students will test upon arrival; 9 & 12-month residents will test between January 28 – January 30.
I tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, do I need to complete a PCR?
Spring Semester Housing Expectations and Public Health Measures
Continued closure of all study lounges and community rooms
All enclosed community gathering spaces will remain closed in residential communities. Community kitchens will remain open; residents are required to observe occupancy limits. We will continue to evaluate this measure with our campus medical staff and public health experts.
Wear your mask in all public spaces
All residential students and their guests must wear KN95 masks, or equivalent, in all spaces in the residence halls and apartments except private rooms. If you don’t have a mask, we have KN95 masks available at community desks. Free KN95 masks are also available on campus during business hours.
No hosting of guests or visitation
To decrease density and ensure appropriate physical distancing in the close quarters of rooms, until further notice, residents are not permitted to host any guests within residential buildings. A guest is defined as any individual who does not hold a license for your specific room/apartment. This policy includes guests from within your community or any other on-campus community. Exceptions: one designated person may assist during move-in/move-out.
Maintain physical distance & limit gatherings
Evaluate all of your group activities. Other than going to class, we strongly encourage moving group meetings and study groups online. Residential activities will occur primarily online unless compliant with all current public health measures. The University will continue to update students regarding campus events. At this time, in-person exams, approved campus events, and designated study spaces outside of residences may continue because all have approved density, masking and other safety protocols in place.