Weber State is heading into another pandemic semester, and with a new COVID-19 variant, safety protocols are being updated for the coming semester.

Intern for Student Wellness Amanda Newbold and Program Specialist for Weber State University's Student Wellness department Justin Hurbert assisted students in learning more about the Covid-19 vaccine. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
Amanda Newbold andJustin Hurbert from WSU's Student Wellness assisted students in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo credit: Kennedy Robins

The new Omicron variant has hit the United States hard, setting record case numbers in the first week of January. According to the Utah Department of Health, there were about 9,800 new COVID cases in Utah on Jan. 7.

The dramatic increase in cases has been driven by Omicron, with KSL reporting that in the first week of December, the Omicron variant accounted for about 0.5% of cases in Utah. Within 4 weeks, that number rose to 80%.

As the world enters the third year of this pandemic, societal norms have begun to shift to accommodate current conditions.

Weber is adjusting its own standards to attempt to avoid another shutdown while keeping students, staff and faculty safe. Starting in the spring 2022 semester, WSU is mandating the COVID-19 vaccination.

Safety protocols regarding vaccine requirements for Weber State University students are ever changing as the spring semester approaches.
Safety protocols regarding vaccine requirements for Weber State University students are ever changing as the spring semester approaches. Photo credit: Weber State University

“A COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all students, except for concurrent enrollment students and students who qualify for an exemption, for the 2022 spring semester,” WSU’s official website reads.

Vaccine mandates are a hotly debated topic throughout the country. Ultimately, it came down to safety and community.

“Weber State joined the institutions of higher education around the state in implementing the vaccine mandate as a way to keep the university open and to be good partners, because if our students and faculty are safe and vaccinated, that helps the rest of the community, as well,” Allison Hess, director of WSU public relations, said.

The Weber-Morgan Health Department begins offered COVID-19 vaccinations in a temporary clinic in the Dee Events Center at Weber State University in Ogden on January 5, 2021. Healthcare workers in non-hospital settings are the first priority group to participate in the invitation-only clinics.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department began offering COVID-19 vaccinations in a temporary clinic at the Dee Events Center at WSU in Ogden on Jan. 5, 2021. Healthcare workers in non-hospital settings were the first priority group to participate in the invitation-only clinics. Photo credit: Weber State University

At this time, Weber cannot mandate the use of masks on campus due to state policies. However, students and faculty are “definitely encouraged on campus to wear face coverings particularly for those who may not be vaccinated,” Hess said.

Throughout the pandemic, WSU and the Weber-Morgan Health Department have worked together to provide vaccines.

“The health policies at Weber State come under the purview of the university administration. We support them in their efforts to keep their student population safe and healthy,” Lori Buttars, health department public information officer, said.

Additional information regarding the vaccine, including the location of the clinics for vaccines and boosters, can be found at https://www.weber.edu/coronavirus/vaccines.html.

Students lined up behind a Covid-19 sign at the Student Wellness booth meant to educate the community on the Covid-19 vaccine. The Student Wellness booth was located in the Shepherd Union building on Ogden campus on Dec 13th from 10am-1pm. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)(Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
Students lined up behind a COVID-19 sign at the Student Wellness booth meant to educate the community on the COVID-19 vaccine. The Student Wellness booth was located in the Shepherd Union building on Ogden campus on Dec. 13. Photo credit: Kennedy Robins
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