Faculty Council votes for university-wide booster mandate


Maddy Maes

In person classes will resume Jan. 18, 2022; however, students will not have to show any proof of a negative Covid-19 test or require a booster shot

DePaul’s Faculty Council passed a motion to mandate the Covid-19 booster across the university community on Jan. 12. The motion requests that evidence of vaccination status be required by March. 

DePaul Faculty Council Health Chair and professor Jay Baglia introduced the motion, pointing to the success of the return to in-person learning in the fall quarter.

In order for students to return to campus in the fall, the university imposed both a vaccine and a mask mandate. As of October 2021, 99.94 percent of students, 99.68 percent of faculty and 96.9 percent of staff have either been fully vaccinated or have received an approved medical or religious exemption from the university. 

“The science is clear,” Baglia said about the efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

All three of the vaccines have been proven to be effective in minimizing hospitalization and death in regards to Covid-19. Despite its effectiveness, however, early indications from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that this protection starts to wane after five to six months. 

Last Thursday, the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a similar resolution asking the university to mandate the booster shot for everyone. SGA’s resolution requests that all members of the university community submit proof of their booster shot by March 4. 

According to the university’s Covid-19 dashboard, 41 cases have been reported since the beginning of winter quarter. In his introduction of the motion, Baglia expressed doubt that the dashboard numbers are accurate based on his conversations with other professors who have had at least one student disclose that they tested positive for Covid-19.

“That should be true across many universities,” Baglia said. 

In discussions on the university requiring a booster mandate, Provost Salma Ghanem jumped in to discuss that the university is currently working on fixing the system in which students submit their immunization records. 

With the original vaccine mandate, students submitted their records on Campus Connect but the category for the Covid-19 vaccine currently only allows for two entries. 

Ghanem said that the university is working on amending the system so that students will be able to input their booster shot when necessary. 

Other Illinois universities have already required the booster shot. Loyola University announced on Dec. 15 that the booster shot will be required for students, faculty and staff as soon as they are eligible. The University of Chicago has announced a similar mandate, requiring that students and employees submit proof of a booster by Jan. 31. 

DePaul is still expecting a return to in-person learning on Jan. 18, following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.