Even though we’ve barely passed the massive Omicron surge in the U.S., the worst days of COVID seem very much in the past for many. New virus cases hit their peak in mid-January, but started consistently falling by the end of the month and continued their downward trajectory through February and most of March, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But as we entered April, the situation took a turn. The declining rate of new infections in the U.S. had slowly been growing smaller and smaller, and now, cases are increasing once more. In the last week, there has been a nearly 20 percent rise in COVID infections, per the CDC. Even as cases start to trend upwards again, however, vaccine requirements are continuing to be pulled back.
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Cities like Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans lifted mandates that required patrons to show proof of vaccination to enter many indoor spaces in February and March. And in just the last week, the Broadway League announced that its 41 theaters will no longer be required to check the vaccination status of audience members after April 30—which they had being doing since Broadway reopened in fall 2021, Deadline reported.
But despite the recent end of many vaccine mandates, one institution in the U.S. is choosing to extend its requirements instead. On April 15, Michigan State University (MSU) President Samuel Stanley announced that the university’s vaccine and booster mandate will carry on through the next school year, MLive reported. With the extension, unvaccinated people will be barred from the campus for the summer semester, which starts on May 16, according to MSU’s academic calendar.
“Even as much of society returns to a more normal environment, we must remember the significant impact that COVID‑19 has had, and is still having, on many members of our community. Now, more than ever, is a time for civility, empathy and respect,” Stanley said in a statement.
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MSU currently has a 94 percent vaccination rate among students, faculty, and staff, as well as an 86 percent boosted rate. Stanley said its high vaccination rate “has been an essential component in our success, creating a safer community for our students, faculty and staff to live, work and learn.” According to the president, the extension also applies to the university’s fall 2022 semester, which is slated to run from Aug. 31 to mid-December.
“All students, faculty and staff must either be fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot or have received an approved exemption,” Stanley said, adding that everyone’s information must be submitted to MSU’s vaccine verification form. “Employees who fail to submit their information once eligible for a booster will be referred to the appropriate disciplinary process; students who fail to submit their vaccine information will be prevented from enrolling in summer 2022 and fall 2022 classes.”
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