Dear Carolina Community,
We are excited to welcome you back to campus for the Fall 2022 semester. This marks the start of the third academic year that has been impacted by COVID-19, and our understanding of the virus is greater than ever thanks to the diligent research of our infectious disease experts. Vaccines and boosters are readily available and nearly 80% of our country has received at least one dose. Our health care facilities’ capacity for outpatient treatment has expanded and home test kits allow for rapid identification of cases.
Below is information on key areas related to COVID-19. As we have done in previous semesters, we will continue to monitor the current conditions and make changes to our standards if necessary.
- Masks continue to be encouraged yet optional in all University buildings.
- Masks are required in health care settings, including UNC Health, Campus Health, the Employee Occupational Health Clinic, the Student Stores Pharmacy and any other patient clinics or clinical simulation areas on campus.
- Masks are also required on university transit services like P2P and Safe Ride, and on Chapel Hill Transit.
- We will continue to follow UNC System guidance on masking policies as well as all state and county guidelines on masking.
If you choose to wear a mask, we recommend choosing one that is comfortable and fits well. There are many reasons why a person may decide to continue to wear a mask, and we respect that choice. Conversely, students, faculty and staff should not be penalized if they do not wear a mask in their classroom or office setting where it is now optional.
Vaccines are readily available on campus and continue to be a safe and effective method to prevent the progression of severe disease.
- Attesting to getting a vaccine or booster is not required but encouraged on the COVID-19 Vaccination Form. State employees are eligible for eight hours leave if they attest to receiving a booster shot.
- Vaccines are available through the Student Stores Pharmacy and Campus Health Pharmacy from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday and no appointment is needed.
- Any student, faculty, staff or community member 12 years old or older is eligible for a vaccine at these locations at no cost. COVID-19 vaccinations are now approved for children as young as six months old.
- If you are eligible for a booster, our infectious disease experts recommend you receive your booster now rather than waiting for a new vaccine later in the fall.
- If you do not know if you are eligible for a booster or when you should get your booster, please use this CDC Tool.
Optional re-entry testing
- We are not requiring students to complete re-entry testing, nor will incoming students be required to attest to their vaccination status.
- However, we encourage students to test before returning to campus, especially if you are exhibiting any symptoms or could have come in contact with an individual who has tested positive.
- If you are a student and test positive before returning to campus, notify Campus Healthand complete the required isolation following CDC guidelines before returning to campus.
- We will not have mandatory or voluntary testing for asymptomatic individuals on campus.
- Symptomatic testing for students continues to be available at Campus Health.
- Faculty and staff with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested at their health care provider.
- At-home test kits are widely available at the Student Stores Pharmacy, the Campus Health Pharmacy and often through vending machines in Rams Head and the Carolina Union.
- Free test kits are also available through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and through the United States Postal Service. Additionally, most health plans offer up to eight free at-home test kits per month. More information on how to access test kits through health insurance can be found on the NCDHHS website.
- All students should report positive results from off-campus testing or at-home tests to Campus Health.
- Residential students who test positive can isolate at home (strongly preferred) or in their residence hall room (leaving only for food pick-up and medical care while wearing a mask). Detailed isolation information for students can be found on the Campus Health website.
- Faculty and staff can report their positive results through the COVID-19 Wellness Check.
- Employees should follow CDC guidance on isolation and quarantine. More information on COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave can be found on the UNC human resources website.
University Approved Absence Policy
- The University Approved Absence process has been streamlined for students who test positive and must isolate due to COVID-19. Any student who tests positive at Campus Health or who reports a positive test to Campus Health will be instructed to isolate. Since this inhibits in-person attendance and can lead to incomplete coursework, students should submit a request to the University Approved Absence Office. Tests conducted at Campus Health will automatically generate a UAA form.
- Students should work with their faculty to understand what accommodations for excused absences may be available to them in each course.
As we have said since the start of the pandemic, these decisions were made in consultation with our own public health and infectious disease experts as well as the Orange County Health Department. We look forward to seeing you on campus again soon.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Lead Physician and Director Carolina Together Program