UNC-CH says employees are now subject to weekly testing if unvaccinated for COVID-19

The university also introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Certification form, which anyone who wishes to avoid regular testing must complete.

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Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are now subject to the same vaccination or weekly testing requirement that the university already had for on-campus students.
The university announced Friday it now requires anyone who wishes to avoid regular testing to complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Certification form.

Masks are now also required at indoor, off-campus registered student organizations events, in addition to indoor, on-campus events.

On Thursday, a group of former North Carolina state health directors wrote a letter to UNC System President Peter Hans saying the system's rules don't go far enough to protect people against the novel coronavirus.

In the letter, they asked Hans to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty and staff at UNC higher educational institutions "to help assure a safer return to campuses this fall."

COVID-19 cases are on the rise, vaccines are safe and work, and a vaccine mandate is the most effective way to stop the ongoing pandemic, they wrote.

Citing mandates at public colleges nationwide, the authors wrote, "Students,faculty and staff at our own UNC System deserve this same level of protection."

The letter was signed by "Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH, Jeff Engel, MD, Laura Gerald, MD, MPH, Ron Levine, MD, Penny Slade Sawyer, PT, MSW, Hugh Tilson, Sr. MD, DrPH."

Without a mandate, they wrote, the university is risking "the burden of new cases and hospitalizations will overwhelm the University campuses’ abilities to quarantine and isolate cases effectively," they wrote. "It will be horrific should a death of a student, staff or faculty member occur that could have been prevented by mandatory vaccination."

Last week, UNC-Chapel Hill reminded students and parents of the change to the campus-wide COVID-19 testing program known as the Carolina Together Testing Program, requiring students to be vaccinated if they didn't want to be regularly tested. Students who are not vaccinated or those who decide not to share their vaccination status with the university are required to get a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival on campus or in Chapel Hill for the fall.

Proof of vaccination allows people to avoid quarantine if a close contact tests positive for the virus.

Noncompliance with the requirements is a COVID-19 Community Standards violation that could result in discipline by the Office of Student Conduct.

UNC-CH does not require that individuals get the vaccine, but it offers paid time off or administrative leave for employees to get vaccinated and in case they had an adverse reaction to the vaccination.

UNC is offering the vaccine, by appointment and free of charge in the Students Stores Pharmacy on the top floor at 209 South Road. Some walk-in appointments are available. Called the Carolina Vaccination Clinic, it's primarily for students and post-doctoral fellows, but it can accommodate a small number of faculty and staff, according to the university.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported how long the COVID-19 Vaccination Certification form has existed, when the announcement about students' vaccination requirements took place and who is invited to receive a vaccine at the campus clinic.


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