SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University President Thayne M. McCulloh posted a statement on Thursday addressed to students, families, faculty and staff about new COVID-19 guidelines for spring semester.
According to the statement, one of the first requirements to return to the university will be a booster shot.
"Effective immediately, all vaccinated students, faculty and staff will be required to receive a booster shot within 14 days of becoming eligible," McCulloh wrote.
The second requirement for students coming back to the university for the spring semester will be pre-arrival COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status, McCulloh said. Students must get a COVID-19 test 48 hours before they are back on campus.
According to the statement, students, faculty and staff are strongly recommended to receive their booster shot before the end of the holiday break if they are eligible.
The new guidelines and procedures for next year's re-entry are intended to keep the community safe as the omicron variant of COVID-19 has created major disruptions and raised new concerns about transmission and infection.
According to the statement, the university's main concern is to limit the transmission of COVID-19, keep the numbers of infected individuals to a minimum, and to support students and community members who must isolate or quarantine.
Omicron is currently the dominant COVID-19 variant in the United States. Health experts believe it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus. Preliminary labs suggest the omicron variant may not attack the upper respiratory system in the same way others do and data suggests cold-like symptoms are prevalent in those who test positive.
On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of the omicron variant in Spokane County.