As information continues to change, we have updated the information in this article regarding testing and self-reporting protocols.
In preparation for the spring 2022 semester, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Virginia Hardy announced updates regarding COVID-19 information and protocols in a memorandum to the East Carolina University community on Dec. 14.
Due to the university’s commitment to its community standards and vaccinations, Hardy said the campus has been able to continue “traditional activities” following a significant decrease in COVID-19 case numbers and an 80% overall vaccination rate.
Though the university has seen vast improvement in rate of infection, Hardy said ECU officials will continue prevention efforts in compliance with guidance from the University of North Carolina System, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local state agencies.
“While things look good right now, we cannot let up. As we prepare to conclude the fall 2021 semester, we want to share some updates for spring semester 2022,” Hardy said. “ECU officials continue to monitor COVID-19 infection rates and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNC System Office, and state and local guidance, and to use that information as we make decisions.”
Face coverings will still be required in all indoor spaces on campus, Hardy said, though the data will be revisited on Feb. 1, 2022, to consider any changes. She said the university will continue to require vaccinations from all students, faculty and staff, or compliance with campus surveillance testing. However, at this time ECU will not require information regarding booster vaccines.
Student Health Services (SHS) will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for the ECU community, Hardy said, and the university will continue to encourage uploads of vaccine records and information through myPIRATEchart. She said ECU’s Community Expectations will be followed by the university until administration revisits the guidelines around Feb. 1.
Hardy said ECU Human Resources will reach out to clinical employees who did not meet the Dec. 1 deadline for the vaccine mandate announced on Sept. 1. A federal mandate was issued to federal contracting employees on Oct. 25, Hardy said, though the university is implementing the requirements in phases. She said ECU has currently paused implementation of the mandate until further information is available due to a nationwide injunction made on Dec. 7 that halted the mandate.
“As a result of this injunction, ECU has made the decision to pause implementation and enforcement of the federal contractor mandate until more clarity is available,” Hardy said. “ECU Human Resources will contact employees who have previously been notified they are subject to this mandate.”
Those that live on campus and are fully vaccinated or within a 90-day window from a positive COVID-19 test result are exempt from spring 2022 reentry testing requirements, Hardy said. Students not exempt will be required to complete the reentry testing before moving into residence halls in spring 2022. Reentry PCR testing will be available at Todd Dining Hall and West End Dining Hall from Jan. 6 to Jan. 9.
Hardy said, those who do not comply with testing requirements will have their PirateID and fob access to buildings deactivated. Hardy said weekly saliva COVID-19 testing will continue for students and employees at the 10th Street SHS building and other locations throughout campus.
“This pertains to both on-campus and off-campus (unvaccinated) students in the surveillance testing protocol,” Hardy said. “Students who do not comply with the weekly surveillance testing protocol may experience consequences that will include deactivation of PirateIDs.”
As of spring 2022, Hardy said faculty will no longer be contacted by the Dean of Students Office when a student self-reports COVID-19. Instead, she said students will complete self-reports in PiratePort which will then automatically be sent to faculty members with a specification of the student’s location in isolation or quarantine. Following the submission, Hardy said faculty should expect a note from the student’s provider that indicates approval for the student to return to class.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hardy said ECU will host a fall 2021 exit testing and vaccine clinic. She said SHS will host its final vaccine booster clinic of the semester for the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines on Dec. 16 in the Main Campus Student Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exit testing will be available at the MAKO Clinic site Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Dec. 16.
“We hope you have a safe, healthy, enjoyable winter break; you have earned it. Please continue to practice safety protocols as you travel and visit with family and friends. Remember to take care of yourself and others,” Hardy said. “Let’s stay the course. Thank you again for your support as we continue to protect the health and safety of our ECU community.”