Campus News

Employee testing guidance

Human Resources VC Becci Menghini clarifies which faculty and staff will be required to be tested for COVID-19 and when the campus community should expect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

UNC-CH COVID testing location at Frank Porter Graham Student Union on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. January 11, 2020.
UNC-Chapel Hill COVID-19 testing location at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union on Jan. 11, 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

For faculty and staff, the University’s tracking and testing approach has different requirements depending on your access to campus, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini wrote in a campus message on Jan. 11.

The University is instituting the Carolina Together Testing Program for the Spring 2021 semester, one important part of a comprehensive approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet physical distance and following other COVID-19 Community Standards are also key to prevention.

Menghini included the following guidance for University employees and graduate students:

Those accessing campus regularly

Faculty or staff who are accessing campus are required to conduct a daily symptom check before coming to campus. They will also have access to asymptomatic testing at the Carolina Together Testing Centers once a week for their personal well-being and the safety of those around them. The testing centers began to open on Jan. 11. Employees accessing campus will be able to utilize HallPass, a mobile-friendly, web-based application, to reserve their testing time, track their test and review their testing history. More information on the locations and hours of the testing centers can be found on the Carolina Together website and the testing process can be seen in this video. As a reminder, these sites are for asymptomatic tests. Anyone experiencing symptoms or who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate and contact a medical provider.

Those not accessing campus regularly

Faculty or staff who are working remotely and not accessing campus 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 employees require asymptomatic testing, the Orange County Health Department will continue to provide free testing at the R7 parking lot through January, and other testing sites in the area can be found on the Orange County Health Department website and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website. Anyone experiencing symptoms or who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate and contact a medical provider.

Graduate, professional and post-doc students

Graduate or professional students or post-doctoral fellows accessing campus to teach, attend in-person classes or who are living in a home with 10 or more people are required to participate in asymptomatic testing once a week. More information will be provided about how they should self-identify for testing through the departments. 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.

COVID-19 vaccines

Menghini added that the University encourages eligible students, faculty and staff to receive a vaccine when it is available to them. Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways campus community members can protect themselves and those around them from the virus and is a critical step in ending the pandemic.

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, local health departments or hospitals 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 6 feet apart and wash your hands.

“We realize that there may be questions or circumstances not covered here,” wrote Menghini. “Please reach out to your HR Officer or submit questions through the form on the  Carolina Together website for more information.”