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FAQs: Spring 2022 Booster and PCR Requirements for Students

In order to access campus after winter break, all students must attest in the Emerson App that they have:

  • Received the COVID-19 booster;
  • Need an extension; or
  • Are ineligible for the booster as of January 3.

Why is Emerson requiring the COVID-19 booster?

Based on guidance from the CDC, Tufts Medical Center, and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the College is requiring the COVID-19 booster to help keep our community safe, healthy, and learning in person. We are preparing to keep the community safe from the Omicron variant. Current medical data suggests that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than previous COVID variants in people who have been vaccinated or have had COVID previously. The booster shot offers additional protection from both infection and severe COVID symptoms in breakthrough cases.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster?

  • If it has been six months since your last dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you are eligible for a Pfizer or Moderna booster (eligible at age 16 if primary series was Pfizer; eligible at age 18 if primary series was Moderna or Johnson & Johnson).
  • If it has been two months since your last Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are eligible for another Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer vaccine. 
  • If you received two doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines, the CDC recommends waiting six months to receive the booster. The CDC recommends that you get Pfizer over Moderna.

If you received two doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccine and already received at least ONE dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you are considered already boosted. You do not need to take further action at this time.   

How do I upload documentation of my booster?

Students must upload documentation of their COVID-19 vaccine to the Student Health Portal AND enter the date of their booster as soon as possible. The Center for Health and Wellness will review all documentation. Please allow several days for CHW staff to review your uploaded information. 

Can I get an exemption from the COVID-19 booster?

No, only those individuals that have already received an approved medical or religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine are exempt from the booster requirement. No other or additional exemptions for the booster will be granted. Students with questions about medical exemptions should contact healthservices@emerson.edu

Can I get an extension for the COVID-19 booster?

You may submit an extension request form in the Emerson App. If you are ineligible for the booster at this time, you do not need to complete the extension request form. When you become eligible you will need to upload documentation as soon as possible.

Where is the extension form located?

The extension request form is located in the booster attestation in the Emerson App. 

What is the deadline for the COVID-19 booster?

If you are eligible, you must receive the booster and attest in the app to access campus after winter break. 

What if I received AstraZeneca or one of the other WHO-EUL vaccines?

It is recommended that you receive one dose of Pfizer or Moderna six months after your primary series. Pfizer is recommended by the CDC for this scenario. We will accept a Moderna booster.

What if I have had COVID in the last 90 days?

It is safe to get a booster following a COVID infection once you complete your isolation period and no longer have a fever or COVID symptoms. We recommend that you get a booster within 90 days after a COVID infection for uninterrupted protection from COVID-19. You may request an extension to postpone the booster.

Where can I get a booster?

You can schedule an appointment with Tufts at https://www.tuftsmcvaccine.org/ or you can schedule an appointment elsewhere in the community using https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/

Please contact COVID19@emerson.edu with any questions.

PCR Test Requirements

In order to access campus after winter break, all students must attest in the Emerson App that they have:

  • Taken a COVID-19 individual PCR test within 72 hours before returning to campus; AND
  • Received a negative result

Important- please read:

  • You are encouraged to schedule this test now, to ensure you are able to find one in your local area. Please note Emerson’s test center at Tufts Medical Center will not be able to provide this pre-return PCR test.
  • If you are not able to secure a test at no cost, you are encouraged to check with your insurance company as they frequently cover any associated costs.
  • You will need to complete the attestation of negative test results on the Emerson app to restore your ID access to campus buildings. Please complete the attestation within 24 hours before your scheduled return.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 since fall classes ended or over the winter break, you must share that information with the Center for Health and Wellness by emailing healthservices@emerson.edu. This will exempt you from testing for 90 days. 
  • If you test positive within 14 days of your arrival, or you or a member of your household are experiencing symptoms, please do not return to campus and contact the Center for Health & Wellness for guidance.

Why is Emerson requiring a PCR to return to campus?

Based on guidance from Tufts Medical Center and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the College is requiring all community members to take a COVID-19 PCR test to return to campus. A PCR test can more accurately detect the COVID-19 virus than a rapid test. Community members who test positive should not return to campus until they complete isolation. 

Do I need to send in the results of my test?

You only need to send the result to healthservices@emerson.edu if your test comes back positive. Contact your local board of health and PCP for guidance.

What is the deadline for the COVID-19 negative individual PCR test?

You should take the COVID-19 Individual PCR test within 72 hours before returning to campus.

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