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COVID-19 Update: New Action Items on Vaccination and Testing for Carolina Community

People at Carolina Vaccine Clinic
Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz speaks work employees and volunteers at the Carolina Student Vaccine Clinic on the clinic’s opening morning March 31, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Bieltz/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

Many of us – students, faculty and staff – are excited about a more normal Carolina experience 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, simple 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 possible environment when classes start on Wednesday, August 18, which are outlined below. With these updates, all members of the Carolina community will either be vaccinated or will be tested weekly. Everyone will be required to wear a mask while indoors.

We appreciate the valuable input 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 campus environment.

New: Carolina Together Testing Program Requirement for Unvaccinated Employees 

First, as of September 15, unvaccinated faculty and staff will be required to participate in the Carolina Together Testing Program. This change follows the plan presented by the Governor for state cabinet agency employees and is consistent with UNC System guidance.

In order to be exempt from weekly testing, faculty and staff are required to complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification Form.  By filling out the form you will attest to the dates you received your vaccine and the manufacturer of your vaccine.  If you have already filled out this form, thank you. If you have not, please do so before September 15. If you choose not to fill out the form, you will be required to be tested once a week at a Carolina Together Testing Center.

This new requirement for unvaccinated faculty and staff aligns with the requirement for unvaccinated Carolina students. All members of the Carolina community must tell us they are vaccinated or they will be required to get tested weekly.

For information, locations and hours of the Carolina Together Testing Centers, visit the Carolina Together website It is important to note that if you are symptomatic or identified as a close contact to someone who has COVID-19, do not visit the  Carolina Together Testing Center but instead immediately self-isolate and contact their primary care provider to arrange for medical evaluation and testing.

New: Carolina Together Testing Program Requirement for Students 

Attestation of vaccination is now required for all students. Students who have not completed the vaccine attestation in ConnectCarolina or uploaded documentation at the COVID-19 Vaccination Certification Form should do so immediately. Students who have not been vaccinated or who do not complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification will be tested weekly.

Audits of attestations will occur on a regular basis. Ultimately, students, faculty and staff who are non-compliant or are found to have falsified documents may be subject to disciplinary action.

Get Vaccinated 

Carolina’s infectious disease experts have emphasized emphatically the efficacy of the vaccines to reduce the contagion period, as well as the severity and length of illness if you become infected. Being vaccinated saves lives.

So far, over 27,000 students have completed the attestation in ConnectCarolina and 93% of those students have indicated they are vaccinated. To date, 65% of employees (faculty and staff) have certified that they are vaccinated. Around 60% of each group has taken the extra step of uploading proof of vaccination. We want everyone to provide this verification.

We are beginning the employee testing requirement on September 15 to give unvaccinated employees time to be fully vaccinated. We cannot stress it often enough – if you are not vaccinated, get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Vaccines are readily available and usually do not require an appointment. You can find vaccine sites around the state on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.

Wear a Mask 

After consultation and upon the recommendation of Orange County Health Department and our UNC-Chapel Hill infectious disease and public health experts, masks will be required for all members of the Carolina community – students, faculty, staff and visitors – while indoors on our campus. Additionally, students who attend any indoor, off-campus events or activities of registered student organizations must wear masks at all times.

Limited exceptions have been made to this mask requirement, and we are updating these in advance of the start of the semester:

  • In your assigned residence hall room or apartment: You are in an assigned residence hall room or apartment without guests, with the door closed.
  • In your private office: You are alone in your private office with the door closed.
  • Eating or drinking: You are actively eating or drinking.
  • While outdoors: Face masks are not required when outdoors but they are encouraged, especially when participating in any type of group event or gathering.
  • Face masks will continue to be required on buses.
  • Visit the COVID-19 Community Standards page for information on accommodations.

Wearing a face mask is a COVID-19 Community Standard and violating the community standard may subject members of the Carolina community to discipline.

With these updates, we are strengthening the three-pronged approach – vaccines, masks and testing – to help control the spread of the virus, keep each other safe and provide an in-person learning experience that is 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 begin a new semester at Carolina, we do not have to choose between safety and in-person learning because with the right approach we will do both. We are confident our campus community members will rise to the occasion.

Sincerely,

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 and Equal Opportunity and Compliance

Amir Barzin
Director and Lead Physician, Carolina Together Testing Program