For the spring semester, NC State has decided to return to full in-person classes, whereas some schools in North Carolina have decided to push back the spring start date, or return to online classes for the first few weeks. Schools like Methodist University are taking a different approach and requiring that all of their students be fully vaccinated in order to live on campus, attend classes and participate in school events, with the addition of delaying their spring semester due to the Omicron variant.
For the week of Jan. 9, 2022, through Jan. 14, 2022, Wake County had the highest number of average covid cases in a 7-day period in the state, sitting at 4,618 cases. This is almost double the number of cases for the next highest county, Mecklenburg, sitting at 2,582 cases. As of Jan. 14, 2022, there were 5,694 new cases reported in Wake county. At the moment, there are six municipalities in Wake County that have a mask mandate in place. They are Raleigh, Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, and Zebulon.
While welcoming back students on campus, NC State has required all students that live on campus regardless of vaccination status to get tested within 72 hours of returning to campus. They are also requiring all faculty, staff and off-campus students who have not provided proof of vaccination to get tested within the same window of time.
According to the NCSU COVID-19 dashboard, we are seeing an average of 200 positive cases a day and have approximately 1,580 active cases. As of January 13th, there are 1,317 total students and 174 employees in isolation and quarantine. These are just the cases from on-campus testing and self-reporting.
If you are a non-vaccinated student, NC State requires you to get tested at either an on-campus or off-campus testing site weekly. If you get testing off campus, it must be a PCR test and you have to upload your testing results to HealthyPack Portal. If you miss more than two required testing cycles without an exemption you can be subjected to disciplinary action. Vaccinated students are allowed to get tested on campus at these sites for free as well. The testing locations and hours open are below.
111 Lampe Drive, room 204:
Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Witherspoon Student Center, room 126:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Wednesday: 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Research II, room 313 (Centennial Campus):
Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM employees and students only):
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
If your test comes back positive, according to NC state policy you must be isolated for five days in either an off-campus permanent residence or in your on-campus housing assignment. After those five days, if you are asymptomatic you may leave isolation as long as you wear a mask around others for five additional days. If you are staying in an on-campus residence you are expected to stay inside your room wearing your face covering as much as possible. Food will be available to be picked up from on-campus food distribution locations depending on where you live. Food may be picked up by you or someone on your behalf.
If you are exposed to COVID-19 by your roommate or someone else, regardless of vaccination status, you are not required to quarantine but are expected to get tested after three days.
NC State does not require students to be vaccinated to attend school and live on campus, but they do encourage students to get vaccinated. It does require all faculty and staff by the federal directives to be fully vaccinated per President Biden’s executive order 14042.
Students who wish to be vaccinated can do so on campus by making an appointment with the PackVax Clinic, or by following their Twitter account @NCStatePackVax for walk-in availability.
According to an FAQ sent out to all instructors as a guide for the spring semester, contact tracing will no longer be done this semester. It states that contact tracing will no longer be done because there were no cases of classroom transmission found during the fall 2021 semester. They attribute this to the vaccination rates on campus and masking protocols.
If professors are notified that a student in their class has tested positive for COVID-19, they will not know the identity of the student unless the student decides to disclose that information. Professors are also instructed that if a student notifies them that they tested positive, they should not disclose that information with the other students in the class. Their communication with students should consist of supporting the learning needs of their in-person students as well as those who are absent from class. If the class is designated to be face-to-face, they are not required or allowed to move their courses online if a student in their class tests positive for covid-19.
Students that have been isolated for the appropriate amount of days and have no symptoms are not required to have a negative test to return to class. This is because people may still test positive after 90 days and not be contagious to others, according to the CDC. Professors are encouraged to create a variety of online options for their students, like uploading the Panopto recordings of the lectures, and/or creating a zoom session so those students can still participate in the class discussion.
The CDC recommends that everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help protect you from COVID-19. They recommend that everyone over the age of two wear a mask in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces. You should also stay six feet away from others, including family members if they are sick. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands, as well as clean and disinfect surfaces frequently. They recommend that you should avoid poorly ventilated areas as well as large crowds when possible.
In order to keep yourself and others safe on campus it is important for you to wear your mask in classrooms, and public spaces, go get tested regularly and, if you test positive, make sure you quarantine and stay away from others. Continue to practice social distancing whenever possible, and go get vaccinated.
For more information about NC State data regarding COVID-19 go to ww.ncsu.edu/coronavirus/testing-and-tracking/ and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NubianMessage to stay connected and see any campus updates.