Vaccine and Face Covering Q&A for NC State Employees
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As we move toward the fall semester, we have received a number of questions related to recent COVID-19 policy changes at NC State, especially regarding vaccines and face coverings. As we continue working to keep our community safe and return to a more normal day-to-day campus experience, we’ve developed a list of questions and answers, presented below.
Can I require vaccines for participation in my classroom, labs or other forms of instruction?
No. Students and/or employees cannot be required to be vaccinated to participate in classroom or instructional activities. At this time, the UNC System is not requiring students, faculty, staff or visitors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or to report their vaccination status to the university. Additionally, any known information about a participant’s vaccination status may not be used to make decisions regarding their approval to be in a classroom, lab or program.
Can I require a visitor to my lab or a participant in a program we offer to be vaccinated?
No. A visitor or participant cannot be required to be vaccinated. At this time, the UNC System is not requiring students, faculty, staff or visitors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or to report their vaccination status to the university. Additionally, any known information about a visitor’s or participant’s vaccination status may not be used to make decisions regarding their approval to be in a lab or program.
I have seen communications that encourage uploading of vaccine information into the HealthyPack Portal. How will this information be used and shared?
The university is strongly encouraging (but cannot not require) faculty, staff and students to voluntarily upload their vaccine information. To protect an individual’s uploaded information, it will be kept confidential in their medical record. Only the aggregated community vaccination status will be used to help inform university decisions moving forward, such as making adjustments to health and safety measures. Aggregate information on vaccination status also helps the university make decisions about the ongoing need for vaccine availability and administration on campus, requirements for surveillance testing and other campus operations related to COVID-19.
In most cases, those who have received vaccines on campus or who provide proof of vaccination status through the HealthyPack Portal will be exempt from surveillance testing requirements, mandatory quarantine, and pre- and post-testing for domestic travel.
Can I ask employees or students about their vaccination status?
At this time, the UNC System is not requiring students, faculty, staff or visitors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or to report their vaccination status to the university. Likewise, except in rare and specific situations, NC State is not requiring that people disclose their vaccination status at this time. Of course, students and employees can always choose to share their vaccination status with others, and the university has no intention of regulating personal or private conversations.
Because vaccines are not required, in most cases, the university recommends you not ask others if they have been vaccinated for purposes of university business or planning. In addition, asking questions about vaccination status could inadvertently result in the disclosure of an otherwise undisclosed disability or other personal information protected under state and federal law, and/or could lead the employee or student to feel they are being discriminated against based on their membership in a protected group in violation of state or federal law.
In rare circumstances, exceptions can be made for specific legitimate university purposes. These could include participation in travel or trip activities or even university housing or hotel room assignments. In these instances, an individual can be asked to provide, on a voluntary basis, their vaccination status to help the department or unit determine the best health and safety practices for the situation.
To learn more about whether your department, unit or program may ask about an individual’s vaccination status for university-related activities, please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When/where can I require that face coverings be worn in my classroom, office or work environment?
Colleges, units and/or individual employees are not permitted to require face coverings or other COVID-19-related measures that are either more or less stringent than the university’s stated standards. Currently, face coverings are only required in instructional and research spaces, and for participants in summer camps while indoors.
What if I prefer to require additional measures when around students, co-workers or others, regardless of my or anyone else’s vaccination status? Can I require someone else to wear a mask, such as in meetings or when around me?
No. Faculty, staff and students may always choose to engage in protective practices themselves, such as continuing to wear a face covering, physical distancing if possible and/or suggesting individual meetings via Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, etc. However, faculty and staff cannot require others to utilize protective practices more stringent than the university’s stated standards, such as wearing face coverings in meetings, dining areas, etc.
Personal Health and Safety
What can I do to make sure I am safe from COVID-19?
The best and most important thing you can do to keep yourself healthy, and others safe, is to get your vaccine.
NC State continues to provide vaccines free of charge on campus to all NC State students, faculty, staff and alumni, and family members who are at least 12 years old. The vaccine clinic is located at Student Health Services for the summer. Find more information on scheduling your appointment for an on-campus vaccine.
If you feel safer wearing a face covering in any setting, regardless of vaccination status, please feel free to do so. Also, the university expects all campus community members to continue taking appropriate precautions, including washing your hands often and staying home when sick.
I have a health condition or religious belief that doesn’t allow me to get vaccinated and/or wear a face covering. What should I do?
Please contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity about potential accommodations.
Visit Protect the Pack for the most up-to-date information on NC State’s response to COVID-19.