New York University will require all eligible members of the school community, including students and faculty, to receive the COVID-19 booster before entering the upcoming spring semester.
The internal emailed announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by NYU senior leadership, and comes after the rising New York state hospitalization rates due to both the delta and omicron variants.
"NYU will require that all members of the NYU community (excluding those with approved exemptions) who are eligible must receive a COVID-19 booster vaccination by January 18, 2022 and upload proof of the vaccination," the internal memo says. A copy of the announcement was reviewed by NBC New York.
The memo is signed by Katherine Fleming, Provost, Martin Dorph, Exec. Vice President and Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, Exec. Lead, COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team.
NYU is not alone in grappling with the decision to require the booster. Earlier this month, Syracuse University announced the student and faculty body are requiring the additional shot prior to the start of the new semester.
"The booster, as we're taking council from public health experts and the CDC, became just the next logical step towards continuing what has been a focus on how is that we do right by students, faculty, and staff," Dr. Mike Haynie, Syracuse University Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, told NBC New York.
Connecticut's Wesleyan University will also require those currently eligible students, faculty and staff to receive the booster and provide proof by Jan. 14. Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth said he did not see any advantage to waiting on the requirement when considering the surrounding community.
"If I'm not boosted, then other people are in more danger. That made it easy for us to say we should be boosted. There will be changes in the disease patterns with this coronavirus and, perhaps, with others. We have to be nimble to protect the health of the community," said Roth.
Other universities are strongly encouraging students and faculty to get the booster while paying close attention to guidance from government leaders and health experts.
For all colleges and universities NBC New York spoke with, timing and staff were two factors leadership has had to consider while navigating the virus.
Jean Peden-Christodoulou, the senior associate vice president for student affairs at Hofstra University, believes the campus had a strong fall semester with the requirements already in place, including indoor masking and surveillance testing protocol. Given the low virus rate on-campus and continued guidance from Northwell Health, Hofstra is prepared to adapt to conditions as necessary, she said.
"Everything about Covid is complex, and our responses have been complex. There is not one easy rule or protocol that keeps us all safe in the same way. We have to talk to many different voices to decide what is best and safest," said Peden-Christodoulou in a recent interview.
A spokesperson for NYU did not return an email seeking comment before publication.