The University of Hawaii may require students, faculty and staff to get a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated against Covid-19, President David Lassner told the Board of Regents on Thursday.

The announcement followed reports of high Covid-19 cases in recent weeks in the islands caused by the highly infectious omicron variant. 

The university already requires people to be fully vaccinated.

“We are looking at moving our vaccination requirement from what is currently called full vaccination — that is having two shots of Moderna or Pfizer or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine — and moving that to include a booster,” Lassner said. “And this is consistent with what we now hear brewing at both the state and the counties.”

He didn’t provide a timeframe for announcing a decision on the issue.

Lassner also announced that the university will switch from cloth masks to high-quality masks and is looking toward federal programs that would provide those high-quality masks and Covid-19 tests to the UH campuses. 

UH students are expected to return to in-person classes on Jan. 31 after moving to online learning at the start of the new year due to the Covid surge. Classes began on Jan. 10.

UH also keeps a dashboard of Covid-19 cases across its 10 campuses, reporting five new cases on Thursday and bringing the total to 492 since April 2020. Most of the infections were at UH Manoa. 

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