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[Last Revised 3/09/2022]

COVID 19 Community Standards

UNC medical students need to follow guidelines from the University. These guidelines are available at and are regularly updated.

The guidelines are usually consistent with the guidelines from the UNC Health System. We will do our best on this page to clarify guidelines when guidelines for UNC main campus students are different from guidelines for UNC Health Professional Students (including medical students)

COVID Vaccines for Medical Students:

Students are required to have up to date COVID vaccine to work in clinical settings, regardless of curriculum phase or duration. Students should upload a copy of their vaccination record to My Record Tracker as soon as possible. Students seeking approved medical or religious exemptions must contact Student Affairs. Students who do not have up to date COVID vaccine (or exemption granted by the Health System) will not be permitted by the clinical sites to work in these clinical settings and should explore options that include an independent elective that does not require work in clinical settings or a leave of absence.

When I work in clinical settings or come to school:

  • I will self-check for symptoms daily.
    • Do you have new muscle aches not related to another medical condition or another specific activity (e.g. due to physical exercise)?
    • Do you feel like you may have a temperature of greater than 100.0°F?
    • Do you have sore throat, runny nose and/or congestion not related to another medical condition (e.g. allergies)?
    • Do you have a new or worsening cough that is not related to another medical condition?
    • Do you have shortness of breath that is not attributable to another medical condition?
    • Do you have recent (<5 days) loss of smell and taste?
    • Do you have new onset of vomiting or diarrhea not related to another medical condition?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, immediately self-isolate and contact your medical provider or if you are a student contact Campus Health. Please do not attend class, work or other campus activities.

  • I will wear a medical mask at all times when I am in a clinical settings.  Face masks must be worn from entering buildings to leaving buildings and in indoor common spaces. When eating or drinking, masks do not need to be worn but 6 foot physical distance must be maintained.
  • I will wrap around eye protection or a face shield when I interact with patients. Wearing both a mask and appropriate eye protection has been shown to decrease transmission of COVID19. For those with prescription glasses, wrap around eye protection or face shields should be worn over prescription glasses. Even an exposure to a patient who is COVID positive and not wearing a mask is considered a low risk exposure if you are wearing a mask and appropriate eye protection.
  • Older children and adult patients with whom I interact in my capacity as a medical student should be wearing a mask whenever possible.  Many clinical settings have instituted a policy that patients over 2 years old who do not have trouble breathing and who can control their airway should wear a mask. If you are working in a clinical setting that does not have this policy, please make sure your preceptor is aware that as a SOM student you are only expected to interact directly with patients who are following these guidelines. If you do not feel comfortable asking your patient to wear a mask, or if you experience resistance from a patient, please ask your preceptor for assistance. You may opt out of such care. Do recall that given the current evidence, health care providers who are wearing both eye protection and masks are considered to have a low risk exposure even if that working with a patient who is COVID positive and not wearing a mask.
  • Caring for patients with COVID 19 may be an expectation on certain services.  Qualitatively fitted N95 mask must be worn along with other appropriate PPE. If an appropriately fitted N95 is not available or student cannot be fitted, the student will be excused from caring for patients with COVID 19 (or patients who have a high degree likelihood of having COVID 19). As outlined in the Exposure Policy students with underlying diseases or disability that limit caring for patients with COVID 19 or patients at high risk for COVID 19 should follow the aforementioned process, seeking a medical evaluation and communicating with the Dean for Student Affairs. Students may also contact the Dean for Students Affairs as a first step to discuss circumstances and determine whether a medical evaluation is necessary. The school will use information from the Centers for Disease Control and or UNC Campus Health to guide adjustments in learning activities.

What I do when I have symptoms or have been exposed to someone who is COVID positive?

  • I will follow the MD Student COVID 19 Exposure and Symptom Protocol The SOM has worked with Campus Health and Infectious Disease experts to define a protocol that must be followed in situations where you have symptoms that might be consistent with COVID19 infection or when you have been exposed to a person who is COVID positive or is suspected of being COVID positive.