UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Many colleges required students to have their COVID vaccine before returning to campus this in the fall. Is it the same case now for the COVID booster?

At Utica College, the COVID-19 booster shot is required by Feb. 1 for all students and faculty. This decision was made based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

“We want to make sure that we provide every layer of protection possible,” said Shad Crowe, Vice President of Emergency Management at Utica College.

At Hamilton College, students had to have their booster no later than Jan. 15, before the start of classes.

“We really wanted to do everything we can to maximize the probability that students were able to have a complete semester,” said David Wippman, President of Hamilton College.

Students and employees at both Utica and Hamilton College are also able to submit their booster proof at the earliest date of eligibility. Both schools allow a physician-certified medical exemption.

“…but really most members of our community have actually been eager to get their vaccine to get their booster there really hasn’t been much backlash. There were a few employees who really didn’t want to get the booster,” said Wippman.

Over at Utica College, there has not been a large amount of backlash either.

“The vast majority close to 90 percent of the population has either scheduled their booster or has already been boosted and our employees are higher than that,” said Crowe.

Wippman explains that it is important for college students to get boosted because they live, study and socialize together.

“It’s easy for something like omicron which is so highly contagious to move very quickly even through a vaccinated community and we know that the boosters provide additional protection,” said Wippman.