COVID-19 Update: New Immunization and Testing Action Items for the Carolina Community

Dear community of Caroline,

Many of us – students, faculty and staff – are excited about a more normal experience in Carolina this fall, but the reality of COVID-19 is that it won’t be possible if we don’t all do our part. Our COVID-19 community standards provide a clear and straightforward path to a successful and healthy semester. As we continue to monitor current conditions, we are making important updates to these standards to ensure the safest environment possible when classes start Wednesday August 18 which are outlined below. With these updates, all members of Caroline’s community will either be vaccinated or tested weekly. Everyone will have to wear a mask inside.

We appreciate the valuable contribution of campus leaders, including the faculty executive committee, employee forum, and student government, who have advocated for a more conservative approach to ensuring a safer environment on campus.

New: Carolina Together testing program requirement for unvaccinated employees

First, starting September 15, unvaccinated teachers and staff will need to participate in the Carolina Together testing program.. This change follows the plan presented by the governor for employees of state cabinet agencies and is consistent with the UNC system guidelines.

In order to be exempt from weekly testing, faculty and staff are required to complete the COVID-19 vaccine certification form. By completing the form, you will certify the dates you received your vaccine and the manufacturer of your vaccine. If you have already filled out this form, thank you. If not, please do so before September 15th. If you choose not to complete the form, you will need to take a test once a week at a Carolina Together testing center.

This new requirement for unvaccinated faculty and staff aligns with the requirement for unvaccinated Caroline students. Everyone in Caroline’s community must tell us that they are vaccinated or they will need to be tested weekly.

For more information, locations, and hours of Carolina Together test centers, visit the Carolina Together website. but instead, self-isolate immediately and contact their primary care provider to arrange for a medical evaluation and testing.

New: Carolina Together test program requirement for students

The vaccination certificate is now compulsory for all students. Students who have not completed the vaccination certificate in ConnectCarolina or downloaded the documentation on the COVID-19 vaccination certification form should do so immediately. Students who have not been vaccinated or who do not complete COVID-19 vaccine certification will be tested weekly.

Audits of certificates will take place regularly. Ultimately, students, faculty, and staff who do not comply or have forged documents may be subject to disciplinary action.

To get vaccinated

Carolina infectious disease experts have emphatically emphasized the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the period of contagion, as well as the severity and duration of illness if infected. Getting vaccinated saves lives.

So far, more than 27,000 students have completed the attestation at ConnectCarolina and 93% of those students have indicated they are vaccinated. To date, 65% of employees (teachers and staff) have certified that they are vaccinated. About 60% of each group took it a step further by uploading proof of vaccination. We want everyone to provide that verification.

We are starting the employee screening requirement on September 15 to give unvaccinated employees time to be fully immunized. We cannot stress this enough – if you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Vaccines are readily available and generally do not require an appointment. You can find vaccination sites statewide on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.

Wear a mask

After consultation and recommendation from the Orange County Department of Health and our infectious disease and public health experts at UNC-Chapel Hill, masks will be required for all members of the Caroline community – students, professors, staff and visitors – inside our campus. In addition, students attending events or activities on and off campus of registered student organizations must wear masks at all times.

Limited exceptions have been made to this mask requirement, and we’re updating them before the semester starts:

  • In the room or apartment of your assigned residence: You are in a room or an apartment of assigned residence without guests, with the door closed.
  • In your private office: You are alone in your private office with the door closed.
  • Eat or drink: You actively eat or drink.
  • Outdoors: Face masks are not mandatory outdoors, but they are encouraged, especially when attending any type of group or gathering event.
  • Face masks will continue to be mandatory on buses.
  • Visit the COVID-19 Community Standards page for more information on accommodation.

Wearing a face mask is a COVID-19 community standard, and violating the community standard may subject Caroline’s community members to discipline.

With these updates, we are strengthening the three-pronged approach – vaccines, masks and tests – to help control the spread of the virus, ensure mutual security and provide an in-person learning experience as close to normal as possible.

We recognize how difficult the past 18 months have been and we are grateful for the sacrifices everyone has already made. As we start a new semester at Carolina, we don’t have to choose between safety and in-person learning, because with the right approach, we’ll be doing both. We are confident that members of our university community will rise to the occasion.

Truly,

Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Chancellor

Robert A. Blouin
Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor

Amy johnson
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs

Becci Menghini
Vice-Chancellor for Human Resources, Equal Opportunities and Compliance

Amir Barzin
Director and Chief Medical Officer, Carolina Together Testing Program

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