The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday January 17th

Employee Forum discusses vaccinations for UNC front-line workers

Screenshot from the Employee Forum meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Buy Photos Screenshot from the Employee Forum meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.

The UNC Employee Forum met Wednesday in its first general meeting of 2021. At the meeting, members discussed faculty concerns regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution, as well as updates on Carolina Next’s first strategic initiative. 

What’s new? 

  • Employee Forum Chairperson Shayna Hill read a brief statement from UNC Housekeeping Services asking for priority status for the housekeeping crew to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. 
  • Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz discussed the Carolina Together testing program
    • “The robust asymptomatic testing program that we put in place is a significant shift from where we were this fall,” Guskiewicz said. “Asymptomatic testing will be available for employees as well as our faculty and staff beginning on Monday the 11th.” 
  • Amy Hertel, chief of staff to the chancellor, and Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, interim chief diversity officer, gave updates on Build Our Community Together, Carolina Next’s first strategic initiative. 
  • Hertel reviewed the progress of the initiative’s leadership team. Hertel highlighted the establishment of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council; UNC’s first systemwide race and equity survey; and the recent creation of council subgroups that look into critical issues such as campus culture and equity in UNC’s policies. 
    • Anderson-Thompkins said the overarching goal of the initiative is to “look at ways that over the next three to five years we can bring about a really deep structural and systematic change for our University.” 
  • Anderson-Thompkins introduced Cloe Liparini, who was hired as the director of education, community engagement and belonging. 
  • Provost Bob Blouin addressed concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases, the order of priority for vaccine distribution and plans for testing in a roundtable discussion. 
    • While positive cases are rising in Orange County, Blouin said volunteer testing has not shown an increase in the rate of positive cases on campus. 
    • The vaccine will be distributed based on criteria determined by the Orange County Health Department, Blouin said. 
    • “What we’re trying to do is to get more of our front-line workers — our faculty, our TAs, our RAs and our front-line staff workers — to be treated in a similar way as K-12 and as our health care workers," Blouin said.
    • Blouin announced that beginning next week, testing will be available for faculty, staff and students at three sites on campus. In the meantime, he said, non-students will be able to test at the UNC Ambulatory Care Center and other sites identified by Campus Health. 
    • HallPass, developed for the Carolina Together Testing Program, will be live on Jan. 11 at hallpass.unc.edu.

What does the Employee Forum do? 

  • The Employee Forum functions to address the concerns of UNC employees. It serves as a communication link between employees and the administration. 

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