Today I’m providing additional information about the Carolina Together Testing Program related to employees, as well as an update on the COVID-19 vaccine.
As Chancellor Guskiewicz announced in November, we are implementing a robust testing program for the Spring 2021 semester that will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Testing is one important part of a comprehensive approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask, maintaining six feet physical distance and following other COVID-19 Community Standards are also key to prevention.
For faculty and staff, our tracking and testing approach has different requirements depending on your access to campus:
Accessing Campus Regularly:
If you are a member of the faculty or staff who is accessing campus, you are required to conduct a daily symptom check before coming to campus. You will also have access to asymptomatic testing at the Carolina Together Testing Centers once a week for your personal wellbeing and the safety of those around you, and we highly encourage you to use this service. The testing centers will begin to open on January 11. You will be able to utilize HallPass, a mobile friendly, web-based application, to reserve your testing time, conduct track your test and review your testing history. More information on the locations and hours of the testing centers can be found on the Carolina Together website and you can view the testing process in this video. As a reminder, these sites are for asymptomatic tests. If you are experiencing symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, immediately self-isolate and contact your medical provider.
Not Accessing Campus Regularly:
If you are a member of the faculty or staff who is working remotely and not accessing campus, you are not required to conduct the daily symptom check and should not need to access the Carolina Together Testing Centers. The Carolina Together Testing Centers are intended to support the campus-based personnel. If you require asymptomatic testing, the Orange County Health Department will continue to provide free testing at the R7 parking lot through January, and you can find other testing sites in the area on the Orange County Health Department website and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website. If you are experiencing symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, immediately self-isolate and contact your primary care provider for further instructions.
Graduate, Professional and Post-Doc Students:
In addition, if you are a graduate or professional student or post-doctoral fellow accessing campus to teach, attend in-person classes or are living in a home with 10 or more people, you are required to participate in asymptomatic testing once a week. More information will be provided to you about how to self-identify for testing through your department. Graduate or professional students and post-doctoral fellows living in Chapel Hill or Carrboro for the semester but who do not fit the criteria outlined above, can participate in voluntary asymptomatic testing at the Carolina Together Testing Centers.
The University encourages eligible students, faculty and staff to receive a vaccine when it is available to them. Vaccinations are one of the best ways the campus community can protect themselves and those around them from the virus and is a critical step in ending the pandemic.
We realize there are a lot of questions about the timeline for vaccine availability. The University is working with the Orange County Health Department and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for information about vaccine distribution and who qualifies under each phase. In most cases, your local health department or hospital will administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The University is not administering the vaccine at this time.
The University’s Environment, Health and Safety Department has established a COVID-19 vaccination website with general information on who is eligible in each vaccine phase. The state has recently moved into Phase 1B, Group 1, meaning individuals 75 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. There is no requirement to have certain qualifying chronic conditions.
Health officials predict the vaccine will not be available to most Americans until late spring, and so it is critical to continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Community Standards, including the three Ws — wear a mask, wait six feet apart and wash your hands.
We will continue to communicate with employees as we learn more about the vaccine process and eligibility.
We realize that there may be questions or circumstances not covered here. Please reach out to your HR Officer or submit questions through the form on the Carolina Together website for more information.
Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance