COVID-19 Updates and Guidance > Updates > jan-13-message

Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Booster and Mask Guidelines

​​​​Jan. 13, 2022 

Dear DePaul students, faculty and staff,

DePaul will embrace additional mitigation efforts as part of ongoing steps to do all we can to limit COVID exposure while we learn and work on campus. Some have expressed concern and asked questions about the university's plans going forward. The city of Chicago remains open—with new vaccine mandates for some indoor spaces. DePaul will continue to follow Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance and, in response to the omicron variant, will strengthen our mitigation measures with a booster requirement and updated masking guidelines. We share details below. Please review carefully.

We will continue to monitor the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

Vaccine boosters
DePaul will require all students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible. The booster requirement has the endorsement of Student Government Association, Faculty Council and Staff Council. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults 18 years or older should get a booster at least five months after completing Pfizer and Moderna's primary two-dose series. For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, adults 18 years or older should get a booster at least two months after the single primary dose.

Everyone in the community will be required to provide proof of a booster by Tuesday, March 1. Students will not be able to register for spring term in-person courses until they have complied with this requirement. Law students will be dropped from spring face-to-face coursework if not compliant. 

More information and instructions on how to submit documentation will be communicated in the coming weeks. Details will be shared via email, Newsline and on DePaul's COVID-19 Updates and Guidance website.  

According to the CDC, vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect others from COVID-19, slow transmission rates and reduce the likelihood of new variants. The COVID-19 vaccines help prevent severe illness and hospitalization, however their effectiveness may decrease over time. Getting a booster can help increase immune response to further protect ourselves and the community from serious illness.

Another reason to get your booster – according to the CDC, you won't have to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, unless you develop symptoms. If you are exposed and do not have the booster, you will be required to quarantine, no matter if you develop symptoms or not, for five days.

To help you fulfill the university's booster requirement, please review the following resources:
  • Reminder about paid time off: Employees can use paid time off to get a booster or to recover from the vaccine's side effects.
  • Booster appointment resources: To learn more about finding and scheduling a vaccine booster appointment in your area, visit DePaul's COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.
  • Exemptions: Anyone who was previously approved for a medical or religious exemption for the COVID vaccine requirement does not need to request an additional accommodation for the booster.
For more information and answers to questions, please visit the COVID-19 FAQs.
Mask wearing
Because the omicron variant is easily transmissible, DePaul is asking everyone to improve the quality of masks they wear on campus.

Cloth masks alone no longer meet the university's mask requirement. DePaul highly recommends using medical grade masks such as KN95 or N95 masks. If you do not have an N95 or KN95 mask, you may double mask with a cloth mask layered over a surgical one. Everyone is expected to provide their own mask, however KN95 masks will be available soon at a limited number of first-floor desk areas near building entrances. In the interim, dispenser locations will have disposable surgical masks to supplement cloth masks. Visit the face mask FAQs for locations. For more information on mask wearing, visit the CDPH website.

Winter quarter in-person learning
The university will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 18. As you may recall, we decided in early December on a remote start to winter term due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID; we wanted to give faculty time to pivot, and give everyone an opportunity to return from their holiday activities and assess their own health situation. Thank you to faculty and staff who moved courses online for the first two weeks to allow us to start the term with caution. Moving forward, faculty are expected to proceed with their classes in the modality in which the classes are listed in Campus Connect, unless they are ill themselves.

DePaul highly recommends that everyone get a COVID test before returning to campus. On-campus testing is available on both campuses—with expanded hours on the Lincoln Park Campus for the month of January. Please visit the COVID-19 Testing webpage for hours and locations.

Thank you for your care and commitment to the health and safety of the DePaul community.

Take Care DePaul,
A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D.

Salma Ghanem, Ph.D.

Sherri Sidler
Executive Vice President