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Several universities, including Ivy League schools, have made it mandatory for the students to receive a COVID booster shot before returning to campus. The deadline for the booster mandate varies from university to university, but in general, every enrolled student (national or international) who is eligible is required to receive the booster shot as a condition to be physically present on campus.

The colleges have accommodated students unable to take the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons, but they must request an exemption. Yale confirmed the same in a statement that read, “Previously approved medical and religious COVID-19 vaccination exemptions will be honored about the booster requirement,”

Other universities that updated their vaccination policy to mandate COVID booster shots include UC Berkeley, New York University, Syracuse University, and Duke University. The mandate also applies to faculty and staff members of most universities.

What happens if students refuse to get a booster shot?

Although not all universities are explicit about the restrictions, eligible students who refuse to adhere to the booster mandate could face enrolment hold, which means students who do not receive the booster by the deadline will not be qualified to enroll in the next quarter. Further, an enrolment hold restricts a student’s ability to complete classes, progress on degrees, get financial aid or even live on campus.

What does this mean for international students?

The booster requirement also applies to students who are fully vaccinated or naturally immunized, or both. However, if an international student refuses to get the booster shot, it could severely affect their enrolment and residency status in the country.

Diogo Braganca, an international student from Stanford University, says if he doesn’t get his booster shot before April 15, 2022, he cannot enroll for the spring quarter, and his J-1 visa will be automatically canceled.

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