COVID-19 FAQs - Spring 2022

Below, you'll find details on booster shot requirements and other updates regarding the College's COVID response.

Vaccines and Boosters

Will COVID-19 booster shots be required for all students and employees?
Yes. For the spring 2022 semester, the College is requiring that all members of the campus community who are eligible for the booster shot have received one.

How do I inform the College that I have received a booster shot?
As before, please email covidvac@wells.edu with a photo of your updated CDC vaccine card and/or other documentation of your booster shot, including the date and vaccine manufacturer. Please allow up to three business days for the College to update its records. 

Why are booster shots being required?
More and more, studies are showing that the immunity provided by the initial vaccine doses begins to wane after several months. While booster shots do not fully prevent “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections among vaccinated individuals, they provide significantly enhanced protection against hospitalization and death. Remember: it’s not just about your own health, but the health and safety of those you interact with on a daily basis—both on campus and off. 

I have completed my primary series of two Pfizer/Moderna doses or the Johnson & Johnson single dose. When am I eligible for a booster shot?
As of early January 2022, all adults age 18+ are eligible for a booster at the following intervals:

  • Two months after your initial J&J dose
  • Five months after your first two Pfizer or Moderna doses

What if I’ve received my primary vaccine doses, but have not yet had the booster? How often do I need to be tested on campus?
It depends on how long ago you received your initial COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who received their second Pfizer/Moderna dose more than five months ago or their J&J dose more than two months ago must comply with the spring 2022 weekly testing requirement. Those not yet eligible for a booster are exempt from the weekly testing requirement. 

What is the advantage of getting a booster shot?
The omicron variant now accounts for over 95% of cases in the U.S., and the vast majority of those infected have had mild or no symptoms—especially for those who have received a booster shot, or those who recently received their primary series of vaccinations. 

If I’ve had the booster, do I need to quarantine if I am exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Recent updates to CDC and New York State guidance have resulted in substantial changes to how individuals exposed to or infected with COVID-19 are directed to quarantine or isolate. In essence, those without booster shots (but who are eligible for one) are now required to test every week on campus, and are now also subject to lengthier quarantine times if exposed. For example, if you have gotten the booster and are exposed, you will not need to quarantine as long as you have no symptoms.

How long after getting the booster shot am I exempted from the weekly surveillance testing requirement?
You are exempt 14 days after receiving the booster shot.

I’ve already had COVID-19. Should I still get a booster shot?
Yes—the New York State Department of Health and the CDC both recommend doing so, but please speak with your medical provider first. Scientific research is not yet clear on whether recovering from COVID-19 provides sufficient immunity to protect against reinfection. According to the NYS Dept. of Health, “one study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than two times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.” 

Where can I get a COVID vaccine/booster?
There are a number of options in Central New York:

  • National/regional pharmacy chains, including CVS, Kinney Drug, Rite Aid, Tops, Walgreens, Walmart, and Wegmans
  • Independent pharmacies
  • New York state-run sites (click here to find a vaccination site near you)
  • Cayuga County offers regular “pop-up” clinics. Visit the county’s health department website or Facebook page for details.
  • You can also search for providers on the federal government’s vaccines.gov website, text your zip code to 438829, or call 800.232.0233 to find locations near you.

Does my booster shot need to be the same as the vaccine I received initially?
No. As of early January 2022, the CDC has stated that individuals may receive any of the three vaccines approved for use in the U.S., regardless of which vaccine they received initially. For example, someone who received two Pfizer shots initially could choose to receive a Moderna or J&J booster shot. Click here for more info from the CDC’s website

Does Wells College provide students transportation to get vaccines/booster shots?
Yes! Our Transportation office coordinates regular trips to several locations in the area where vaccines/boosters are available. Students should contact transportation coordinator Ray Lupo (rlupo@wells.edu) prior to making a vaccine appointment. Transportation is provided at no charge. 

Vaccines and Boosters

What type of test does Wells College use for its regular surveillance testing?
In spring 2022, Wells is using a rapid antigen test. These tests provide results in 15 minutes, which allows us to immediately begin the contact-tracing process in the event that an individual is diagnosed as positive.

How is a rapid antigen test different than a molecular PCR test?
While not quite as accurate as a PCR test, the chief advantage of the rapid antigen test is that results are delivered on the spot within minutes—whereas a PCR test is usually sent to a laboratory for processing and thus results can take 24 to 48 hours or more to be delivered. 

How often are members of the campus community tested?
In spring 2022, weekly testing will be required for the following individuals:

  • Those who received their J&J primary dose more than two months ago
  • Those who received their first two Pfizer or Moderna doses more than five months ago
  • Anyone who has been approved for an exemption to the vaccination requirement

Those who have received a booster shot will not be required to test on a weekly basis, except during specified times—such as the beginning of the semester, return from spring break, etc.—when testing will be mandatory for all individuals on campus.

I’ve already had COVID-19. Do I need to be tested weekly?
Those who have previously recovered from COVID-19 are exempt from weekly on-campus testing for 90 days following their initial positive test. (See next question for how to apply for a 90-day exemption.) This is because small numbers of virus antibodies are sometimes detected weeks or sometimes months after an infection, even if the individual is no longer symptomatic or contagious.

If I’ve had COVID-19, how do I apply for a 90-day exemption from the weekly testing?

Following the end of your isolation period, you will be exempt from the weekly COVID-19 testing requirement for 90 days if you notify the College and submit a NYS “Attestation of Isolation” form. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Download and print this attestation form.
  2. Fill out the form and sign it.
  3. Upload a copy of it, along with a photo of your positive test (if available), using this link.

Can I be tested upon request, even if it is not mandatory for me?
Yes. Any student, staff or faculty member can request to be tested during regular business hours. Please contact Audrey Woolever, the College’s COVID-19 coordinator, at awoolever@wells.edu

Where else can I get a COVID-19 test in the area?
The College’s on-campus medical center can provide a PCR test upon request during regular weekday hours. Appointments are required; please call 315.364.3273 or 315.364.3388 for more info. Other options include:

  • Most pharmacies and health care providers that offer COVID-19 vaccines also provide testing.
  • In December 2021, New York State opened a series of testing locations, including one in nearby Moravia (click here for more info); appointments are required at most locations.
  • The Tompkins County Health Department, in partnership with Cayuga Medical Center, offers testing at the Shops at Ithaca mall on weekdays. A $99 fee may be required for asymptomatic individuals who live outside of Tompkins or Cortland counties. Visit cayugahealth.com for more details and to make an appointment.

This page was last updated on Jan. 21, 2022.

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