- Two Massachusetts institutions, Northeastern and Boston Universities, plan to periodically test even if they are fully vaccinated.
- The universities require on-campus upon arrival and regularly after that. Northeastern said it would reevaluate its policy in October.
- Although the pandemic has eased in the U.S., case counts are climbing again, and outbreaks are sweeping across some country’s pockets with rates.
As many colleges prepare to relax safety measures and resume morein the fall, Northeastern, and Boston’s universities offer an example of institutions keeping stringent testing policies.
Northeasternit would require weekly testing for on-campus students and employees. Boston University for students and employees who interact with students in person.
Their plans come as some public health experts warn thatin the fall and winter. people in the U.S. to get spreads.
Still, Northeastern and Boston’s testing strategy goes further than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
IN JUNE, the CDC updated guidance for higher education institutions, saying that colleges with fully vaccinated populations can. It also advised that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be tested for the .
However, the agency said that schools where not everyone has gotten the shots shouldand mask-wearing.
Leana Wen, a health policy professor at George Washington University, said moreis needed on vaccinated students. “What we need to know is whether an asymptomatic, vaccinated (person) who can infect other people,” Wen said in an email. “If they can, testing is important; if not, then there’s no point.”
Although it’s not what the CDC recommends, the Boston institutions’ approach could provide information about how many vaccinated students are catching the virus and whether they are transmitting that infection to others, said Audrey Pettifor, an epidemiologist and professor at the University ofat Chapel Hill.
Pettifor said an aggressive testing program could also make sense if campuses have large populations of students who’ve received vaccines not made with messenger RNA technology, used in both.
Recent studies have found Moderna and Pfizer’s shotsagainst coronavirus mutations. Still, concerns are growing that some other vaccines — including those from — aren’t as effective against the delta variant and require a booster shot.
Northeastern is mandating the shot for on-campus students. Officials noted that students areworldwide, where coronavirus case counts and vaccination rates differ widely. Several countries from which the U.S. draws large shares of international students, including India and South Korea, have populations where of the population is fully vaccinated.
The university recognizes any, but it said that students who’ve gotten other types of shots must be reinoculated.
“Our North Star is safety,” Ken Henderson, chancellor and seniorfor learning at Northeastern, said in a statement. “By testing, we will gather information to make the best science-based decisions possible.”
Boston University is taking a similar. And while it is also mandating the shots, it accepts any coronavirus vaccine for students, even those .