Columbia College Chicago recently rolled out the latest additions to their safety plan — "Back Together, Columbia"— which includes mandatory booster shots for the spring semester. The requirement will target students and employees five months beyond their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer and two months beyond their single dose of Johnson & Johnson. Individuals who are not yet boosted must get tested weekly, except those vaccinated who are not yet eligible for a booster shot. 

The institution’s new COVID-19 protocols are in full effect for the spring semester to ensure safety is paramount. Before the start of the semester, students, faculty, and staff are required to upload a one-time negative COVID test— even those who are vaccinated. This is in addition to the required booster shot. Negative test results can’t be older than three days before your campus visit and must fulfill testing requirements. Recently, home tests became acceptable due to the high demand for and limited access to COVID-19 testing. Those who are past their booster deadline must submit a test weekly until booster evidence is uploaded. Despite being vaccinated, boosted, or tested, everyone must still wear masks. Students who uploaded their booster vaccination proof were entered into a drawing to win one of 10 scholarships worth $1,000. 

A new semester with rising Omicron cases means restricted fun for students and citizens. As of Jan. 3, any individuals age five and older are required to show proof of vaccination to dine indoors, visit gyms, or enjoy entertainment venues where food or drinks are being served. According to the city’s official website, Public Health Order 2021-2 will require certain establishments to verify that patrons are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Valid proof of vaccination includes a photo identification card, vaccination card, and digital or printed record from a vaccine provider. Masks are also required indoors in public places. 

However, some places are not included in the requirement: houses of worship, grocery stores, schools, and daycares, among many more. Public Health Order 2021-2 will remain in effect until Chicago sees a decrease in Omicron cases and the risk of overwhelming hospital capacity has passed. 

Many students feel supported by the college and feel they're making clear efforts to strengthen public safety.


Blavity U Ambassador Lashaunta Moore is a Graduate student at Columbia College Chicago, studying entrepreneurship for creatives. With a bachelor’s degree in media communication, she’s also a freelance journalist and digital content producer who enjoys writing about all forms of news.