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Sunday February 28th

Here's what you missed at Thursday's Advisory Committee meeting

<p>The Advisory Committee meet virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 to discuss spring COVID-19 testing.</p>
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The Advisory Committee meet virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 to discuss spring COVID-19 testing.

On Thursday, the Advisory Committee met to discuss the spring semester COVID-19 testing plan and vaccine rollout. 

What’s New?

  • Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz discussed the recent decision to delay in-person instruction until Feb. 8. 
    • The decision was made due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across North Carolina. 
    • Guskiewicz said he feels confident in the decision and made the change to provide flexibility to students and faculty. 
      • “We should be in a better place by Feb. 8,” Guskiewicz said. “The data over the past week has leveled off and is showing some signs of moving in the right direction.”
  • Guskiewicz also updated the Committee on the spring semester COVID-19 testing plan.
    • The plan requires students to have a negative COVID-19 test result prior to arriving on campus. 
      • “One-hundred-and-two positive cases were identified because of prior to arrival testing,” he said. “They stayed home because they tested positive and otherwise would have been here on-campus. So far the program seems to be working.”
    • Additionally, Guskiewicz addressed concerns about long lines at testing sites. 
      • “One site apparently has had a 30-minute wait at the busiest times of the day,” he said. “Thirty minutes is not that long of a wait, but they did make some adjustments by creating two different types of lines. Hopefully, this will reduce the waiting to 15-20 minutes.” 
  • Guskiewicz then discussed the COVID-19 vaccine rollout through the UNC Health System. 
    • Guskiewicz said that 56,000 doses have been administered across the 15 UNC Health vaccination distribution centers. 
      • “I want to continue to advocate for our faculty and staff who are frontline essential workers on campus so that they can receive the vaccine as soon as possible while making sure that we don't go outside of the prioritization that's been set for the distribution by the county," he said.
    • Rohit Ramaswamy, committee member and Gillings School of Global Public Health professor, said he was confused by the distinction between faculty and staff in the vaccine distribution. He asked for clearer University communications, in those regards. 
      • “When the campus opens, faculty will be teaching, but will there be staff?" he said. “Are (staff) considered essential workers because they're not teachers? But yet if they're going to be around teachers and students on-campus, they're going to be at risk. So how will they be protected?”
    • Guskiewicz said many people are currently not vaccinated on-campus, and his goal is to vaccinate as many people who do not fall into the prioritization list as soon as possible. 

Who is on the Committee?

  • The Committee is an elected body of faculty and staff from different schools across the University. 
  • Suzanne Gulledge, clinical professor at the UNC School of Education, is the current chairperson of the Committee. 

What’s next?

  • The Committee plans to meet again in February.

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