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COVID-19 testing, vaccine and mask requirements for the fall 2021 semester

Your guide to community guidelines at UNC

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Groups of students walk down Stadium Drive at UNC on Monday, August 16, 2021.

UNC’s reopening plan for fall 2021 has campus looking near normal – higher capacity dorms, fully open dining halls and primarily in-person instruction.

There is no vaccination requirement in place, but masks are required for all indoor spaces, such as classrooms. Masks are recommended outdoors, especially at gatherings. 

“We know that we will have positive cases, including some breakthrough cases in some of those individuals who are fully vaccinated. But with our strong vaccination rate and our mandatory testing for those who are not, our experts believe we can navigate any spread of the virus,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at a Campus and Community Advisory Committee meeting on Aug. 11.

Dr. Amir Barzin, medical director of the UNC Health Virtual Care Services, said the University will continue to look at metrics such as positive test rates and positive cases, as well as guidelines from the CDC, to determine any changes in requirements and restrictions.

Here’s what else you need to know about UNC’s COVID-19 guidelines this semester.

What are the requirements for testing this semester? 

All UNC students, faculty and staff must participate in the UNC System 'Get Vaccinated or Get Tested Weekly' mandate. Attestation of vaccine status through ConnectCarolina is required for all students. Students, faculty and staff who aren't vaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccine status are required to get a weekly COVID-19 test. 

Vaccinated individuals are not required to test regularly, but are able to at the testing locations on campus if they wish.

“We are keeping testing open to everyone so that if they feel like it's something that makes them have an added layer of comfort, they can take advantage of it,” Barzin said. 

How can I get tested?

Asymptomatic testing will be available at the Carolina Union on the side closest to Davis Library at the following times: 

  • Mondays and Wednesdays: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
  • Fridays: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

The testing site will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Steven King, associate professor at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, said that anyone with a PID can create an account on the web application HallPass to get a barcode that will be used to check in the testing site. Barzin said that the whole testing process, from check-in to walking out the door, should take about 2 minutes. 

King said that the University recommends making a reservation on HallPass to ensure the efficiency of the testing site. HallPass will also send a text message when it’s time for your next test, he said.

Testing at the Carolina Union is for asymptomatic testing only. If you are experiencing symptoms or have been declared a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, make an appointment at Campus Health to get tested. 

You can make an appointment by calling Campus Health at 919-966-2281, going online to the Campus Health website or requesting an appointment on healthyheels.unc.edu.

How will I get my test results? 

HallPass will send you a text when your test results are ready. Barzin said that if your test comes back positive, you will receive a phone call from Campus Health to ensure you are quarantining appropriately and to begin contact tracing procedures. 

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When would I have to go into quarantine or isolation?

If a student tests positive, they are required to go into isolation, regardless of their vaccination status. 

“Once you get a positive result, then you're going to be put into isolation for the entire amount of time, regardless of whether you get a subsequent negative result,” Ken Pittman, director of Campus Health, said. 

The isolation period lasts for 10 days from the date you first had symptoms or received a positive test, and 24 hours since you had a fever without using fever reducing medication, Pittman said.

Pittman said that unvaccinated students are required to quarantine if they are declared a close contact of someone who tested positive or were potentially exposed to COVID-19, but has not yet tested positive. Vaccinated students are not required to quarantine in these circumstances, but are asked to limit their interactions to only what is absolutely necessary until they receive a negative test result. 

In these scenarios, students should get tested at Campus Health, not at the asymptomatic testing locations.

If required to isolate or quarantine, on-campus students will move into the quarantine / isolation dorms – Craige North and Horton. Students living off-campus or in Greek housing can choose to quarantine/isolate in their houses, or another location. On-campus students also have the option to go home to quarantine / isolate, Pittman said.

Pittman said that students in quarantine or isolation will receive instructions from Campus Health, if on-campus, or the Orange County Health Department, if off-campus. They will also receive daily check-ins from Campus Health and any necessary resources from the Dean of Students Office.

I’m not sure if I want to get the vaccine. 

The University is strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine to better protect the campus community. 

Any students with concerns about the vaccine can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine consult with a Campus Health provider to discuss the pros and cons, concerns and more.

“Our providers are able to provide them with a science based consult, so that they can make an informed decision about receiving the vaccine if they have not yet been vaccinated,” Pittman said. 

Can I get my vaccine on campus?

Yes. The Campus Vaccination Clinic has moved to the pharmacy on the top floor of the Student Stores building. 

Pittman said that vaccine appointments are available Wednesday through Friday from 9 to 5. Walk-ins are also accepted, it just may be a longer wait time. 

The pharmacy has all three vaccine types, but will typically give out Moderna unless otherwise requested. Immunocompromised individuals who qualify for a booster shot are also able to do so at the pharmacy.

How many people on campus are vaccinated?

According to the Carolina Together website, 86 percent of students and 78 percent of faculty and staff have attested that they are vaccinated in ConnectCarolina, as of Aug. 16. Pittman said that around 58 percent of students have uploaded documentation of their vaccination status.

What to do if you think you have COVID?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, limit your interactions and make a testing appointment at Campus Health by calling 919-966-2281, going online to the Campus Health website, or requesting an appointment on healthyheels.unc.edu.


CORRECTION: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated Dr. Amir Barzin's title. He is the medical director at UNC Health Virtual Care Services, not the UNC Family Medicine Center. The article also incorrectly stated that attestation of vaccine status was encouraged, but not mandatory. However, attestation of vaccine status through ConnectCarolina is required for all students. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the errors.

@hannahgracerose

university@dailytarheel.com