SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – College students are headed back to campus as the Omicron surge of COVID-19 continues and some are already back.

Thousands of students around western Massachusetts are expected to return to college campuses this week in the midst of the Omicron COVID-19 surge we’re in. 22News went to American International College on their first day back to class to talk about the precautions their campus is taking to prevent the spread.

“Hopes for the rest of the year is that we can find some normalcy. I know we keep saying that but we’re going to keep trying, we’re going to keep finding ways to make things work,” said Matthew Scott, AIC Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

While they had a 98-percent COVID-19 vaccination rate on campus last semester, the college says they recognize that waning vaccine immunity is an issue, so they’re requiring the booster shot for all employees and students on campus. Students must be boosted by February 1st or within two weeks of becoming eligible after February 1st.

The booster shot is a requirement for anyone on campus, even those who just want to go to the library or participate in extracurricular activities.

“Our students, they’re looking for that in person experience. You even see them around campus right now. They’re here, they’re getting coffees, they’re wearing masks. We’re requiring that they wear their masks but they understand it,” said Scott.

Vaccinated students who are close contacts don’t have to quarantine but if students are experiencing symptoms, they need to test and quarantine immediately. If a student is positive, they are required to isolate in designated housing for at least ten days from the date the positive test sample was taken with an 11th day release.