The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday June 24th

Community Advisory Committee discusses Well-being Days, COVID-19 mitigation strategies

DTH Screenshot. Screenshot from the Campus and Community Advisory Committee meeting on Jan. 20, 2022.
Buy Photos DTH Screenshot. Screenshot from the Campus and Community Advisory Committee meeting on Jan. 20, 2022.

Members of the Campus and Community Advisory Committee discussed spring Well-being Days, expanding resources for Counseling and Psychological Services and COVID-19 mitigation strategies at their Friday meeting. 

What’s new? 

  • Wellness Days will now be referred to as "Well-being Days" at UNC.
    • Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said some of his colleagues in public health think "well-being" is a more appropriate term than "wellness."
      • “We have built-in additional days, what we’re calling in the calendar now 'Well-being Days,” Guskiewicz said. 
      • He said that there will be two allocated Well-being Days in the fall 2022 semester and three Well-being Days during the spring 2023 semester.
  • As COVID-19 has changed campus life, Carolina Together Testing Program Director and Lead Physician Dr. Amir Barzin said the community should acknowledge that University COVID-19 mitigation strategies have changed as a result of the omicron variant. 
    • “Isolation and space are much more difficult because of the transmission,'' he said. “So when we talk about mitigation we have to talk about the two forms of mitigation that are important — vaccinations and boosting, and also masking.”
      • UNC Health Care Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Weber said the best mask is ideally a medical-grade mask. He said it’s better to wear a mask that is comfortable and that you can wear for long periods, rather than a KN95.
  • Some students have been expressing concern about not receiving full credit for attending classes remotely. Student attendees discussed alternatives for clickers, such as Poll Everywhere.
    • Ethan Phillips, Undergraduate Student Government director of student wellness and safety, said a concern some students posed is whether they will be able to participate in class remotely. He said some students have not been receiving full participation credit in classes if they attend remotely, even if they are sick. 
      • "The majority of the classes that I’ve heard about, it’s for classes where they use clickers to answer questions during class to receive participation credit,” Phillips said.
  • Elliana Alexander, president of the Residence Hall Association, said residents have expressed concerns about isolation protocols if they test positive.
    • Barzin said that the University considered multiple variables when deciding how to best facilitate the most adequate use of limited space on campus for quarantine and isolation.
    • “One of the notions that were reached across a lot of campuses was to stay in place,” Barzin said. “We were following suit with the way that people had been viewing both the rate of transmission being a variable that has changed to the highly protected nature of a vaccinated community.”
    • Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin said UNC has left the residence halls historically reserved for quarantine and isolation available for students with "special considerations."
    • "It’s in limited use because there is limited space,” he said. The University has previously said that they will not be providing separate housing or meal delivery for those who test positive.
  • The University is hoping to expand CAPS resources, Guskiewicz said. 
    • Phillips said he thinks that increased mental health support through telehealth would be a great addition to the spectrum of student resources. But that addition wouldn't necessarily fix the overall shortage of mental health services available to students.
      • “I think that Well-being Days are fine, but I know that we can’t predict what days we need help,” Associate Professor and Director of the division of radiologic science Joy Renner said. “We need to make sure that the services are available, not just having days off.”

How was the committee formed? 

The Campus and Community Advisory Committee was launched in September of 2020. They meet regularly to examine how they can provide the best UNC experience for as many students as possible, with safety and well-being as a priority.

Who is on the committee? 

The committee is composed of students, faculty, staff, and community members from different UNC departments. 

university@dailytarheel.com

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