Health & Safety

What should I do if I’m feeling sick?

First, stay home if you are feeling sick. 

If you are a student, contact the Student Health & Counseling Center at 828.251.6520. If it’s after-hours or the weekend, call Health Link at 888-267-3675.

Contact your course instructors or supervisors to make alternate arrangements for completing coursework or work. If you need assistance in the communication process with instructors, please complete report a concern via the Dean of Students or the Concern Referral Form.   

If you live in the residence halls, you can also reach out to your RA or the RA on call. They will help you connect with resources any time. 

If you are an employee and are feeling sick, please contact your healthcare provider.  Faculty and staff can contact Human Resources at (828) 251-6605 or with any questions. 

The State Health Plan covers the cost of COVID tests, with more information at

For more details and next steps, see the flow charts at


Will face masks be required?

In light of recently revised guidance from the CDCNCDHHS and UNC System leadership, UNC Asheville will no longer require face coverings indoors, effective Monday, March 7, 2022. Exceptions will include health care settings and on public transportation, including University shuttles.

The UNC System requests that all 17 UNC System institutions ease mask requirements. This reflects current conditions at this phase of the coronavirus pandemic, including widespread immunity through vaccination and prior infection, as well as better access to testing and treatments.

Out of respect for each individual’s personal choices given their circumstances, members of the UNC Asheville community are reminded to be respectful of choices to wear or not to wear a mask in any situation. All are encouraged to decide what is best for their health and personal circumstances, also being mindful of the needs of others (i.e., children who cannot get vaccines or elders in residence).

We will reassess our COVID-19 protocols every two weeks and provide updates as needed in line with CDC and NCDHHS guidelines, as well guidance from the UNC System.

If individuals would like a face mask, masks will be available and can be picked at locations across campus. KN-95 masks and blue surgical masks are readily available at the Circulation Desk in Ramsey Library, at the front desk of Highsmith Student Union, at the front desk in the Student Recreation Center, the fitness center desk in the Sherrill Center, as well as in Brown Hall and Governor’s Hall. Surgical masks are also available in classrooms. If the mask becomes damaged or visibly soiled, the face mask should be replaced.

For information about masks that are appropriate, please follow CDC guidelines.

Cloth masks that are at least 2-ply like those cloth masks distributed by UNCA are very good masks. KN95, N95 are very good masks as well. Surgical-type masks are good, but as is the case with all masks, care should be taken to ensure that there is good coverage around the nose and mouth.

All visitors to UNC Asheville, including vendors and service providers, will be expected to abide by all campus health and virus mitigation protocols.

Can face shields be used instead of masks?

Face shields do not replace the need for a cloth face covering; however, they are an acceptable accommodation for students, faculty, or staff with legitimate health issues which prevent them from wearing masks (per ADA guidelines).

Wearing a face mask is the CDC’s recommended best practice; however, occasionally additional or alternative safety measures may be needed to address certain situations.  Where face masks are not feasible, for example, when a faculty member needs to speak to a class or an accommodation based on medical reasons is needed, alternate means of personal protection such as face shields may be worn (with appropriate physical distancing and/or other protective measures). Physical barriers or screens may also be installed in frequently used areas.

Are masks still required where plexiglass is in place?

Students and employees are still required to wear face masks in classrooms and public spaces.

How will the University face masks be distributed?

KN-95 masks and blue surgical masks are readily available at the Circulation Desk in Ramsey Library, at the front desk of Highsmith Student Union, at the front desk in the Student Recreation Center, the fitness center desk in the Sherrill Center, as well as in Brown Hall and Governor’s Hall. Surgical masks are also available in classrooms.

Reusable cloth face coverings can also be requested at the Highsmith front desk.

When and how do we get face shields for in-person instructors?

Faculty and staff can request a face shield through their Emergency Operations Center representative.

Can a specific type of mask be required?

Campus community members who choose to wear a mask can select any CDC approved mask type. It must fit properly and be worn appropriately covering the nose and mouth.

Do faculty and staff have an approval process for medical exceptions to wearing a mask?

Please contact if you have this request.

How concerned should we be about Delta in the schools, particularly with strong masking requirements?

According to Dr. Hodge (MAHEC), studies have shown that classrooms with strong masking requirements are not the issue. We should be aware of extracurricular activities – and make sure there is reasonable social distancing and masking. A high percentage of vaccination confirmation across a campus or school would also factor into the mitigation strategy. 

What are the quality requirements for masks?

Not all masks are created equal. Early studies showed that very thin, mesh neck gaiters are not effective. Most cloth masks, 2-ply, meet the criteria. K95 and KN95 and closely fitted masks can increase effectiveness, according to Dr. Hodge (MAHEC). 

Masks must be worn appropriately, covering both the mouth and nose. 

See the CDC face covering guidelines for more information.

Are masks required by speakers at events?

The NC Department of Health and Human Services provides an exception to face coverings when an individual is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience. The removal of a face covering at a podium or microphone for an event is allowed when social distancing and other mitigation strategies are place.

For more information, visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Campus Spaces

What precautions will be in place for public restrooms?

We’ll follow the example and protocol of health care facilities.

Will water fountains be available?

Touchless water-bottle filling stations will be available in many campus buildings, but other water fountains will be turned off.

Touchless water-bottle filling stations are located in Brown Hall, Chestnut Hall, Founders Hall, Mills Hall, Governors Hall, Highsmith Student Union, Ponder Hall, Rhoades Robinson Hall, Sam Millar Facilities Complex, the Reuter Center, the Sherrill Center, South Ridge Hall, the Student Recreation Center, Vance Hall, West Ridge Hall, and 118 W.T. Weaver.

In terms of computer labs, who will be responsible for disinfecting those keyboards?

In shared spaces, we are asking individuals to clean their own spaces, much the same way that they would gym equipment. Wipes will be available to use before and after they any high-touch surface. Hand-sanitizer will also be available nearby.

What if I have questions about the HVAC system in my building?

All HVAC systems have been inspected for proper operation to ensure they are providing appropriate ventilation while maintaining conditions that promote indoor air quality, and all air filters have been replaced.

The buildings on campus are conditioned by many different types of systems, but they all have two things in common:

1) At a minimum, all buildings supply the code required amount of outside air.

The air that is supplied to a space from the HVAC system is a mixture of outside air and recirculated air. The percentage of outside air varies from the minimum established in the North Carolina Mechanical Code up to 100 percent outside air, dependent upon outside air temperature/humidity and how that relates to the cooling/heating needs of the building. This is typical for the vast majority of our built environment, with the rare exceptions being laboratories and other spaces with environmental hazards which may not allow recirculated air. The cooling and heating systems in our buildings were not designed to provide 100 percent outside air under all outside temperatures and humidities, but they are programmed to maximize the amount of outside air provided while maintaining temperature and humidity setpoints within the building.

2) On average, the total volume of air within any space on campus passes through a filter every 7.5 minutes, or 8 times an hour.

All air supplied to a space, both outside air and recirculated air, pass through a filter prior to being discharged from the supply air grill. The University uses filters with a rating of MERV 8, which have a clean filter rating of greater than 70% for particles from 3.0-10.0 μm, and as the filter loads up, this efficiency increases.

What are the protocols to attend an Athletics event on UNC Asheville’s campus?

In coordination with University campus health and safety personnel, UNC Asheville Athletics is announcing updated adjustments to its basketball attendance and hospitality policies for the month of February.

Moving forward, attendance will return to full capacity along with concessions being sold at home basketball games. In addition, hospitality for eligible Bulldog Athletic Association donors will return to normal operations.

Attendees should adhere to UNC Asheville’s community expectations.

UNC Asheville will continue to monitor Covid-19 rates on campus and in the greater Buncombe County area and communicate further updates at and on our athletic social media channels.

All home games will continue to be broadcast on ESPN+.

Community Expectations

Please see the UNC Asheville Expectations of Mutual Respect & Care for All.

How will we enforce the community standards?

We know that wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and social distancing can be effective. All community members are expected to adhere to community expectations

How will COVID-positive cases be communicated with the campus community?

We will abide by all HIPPA laws and protect the privacy of individuals, and we will provide regular updates with the information we are able to share. Please see the Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 page for more information. 

How do I report a positive diagnosis?

Visit the Confirmed Cases page and use the confidential form at the bottom of the page to report a diagnosis or concern. 


Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

Please see the FAQ for Vaccines & Testing.

Checking Symptoms

All students, faculty, and staff should check for symptoms related to COVID-19 prior to returning to campus. We recommend using the COVID-19 symptom checker located on the Buncombe County Health Department website. The Buncombe County Health Department is responsible for following up with students, faculty, and staff regarding their medical concerns related to the symptom checker, and they will be expected to adhere to any recommendations communicated to them.

Get Vaccinated or Get Tested

The UNC System communicated the get vaccinated or get tested guidance at the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester with the recommendation that campuses strongly encourage vaccination and provide enough time for students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated per the guidance. We set the deadline to submit confirmation of vaccination status at Sept. 1 with that recommendation in mind.

Regular testing for those who are unvaccinated or have an unverified vaccination status will begin the week of Sept. 7. Unvaccinated students and employees are being confidentially contacted by the Health and Counseling Center and Human Resources to notify them of the regular COVID-19 testing process and schedule.


Quarantine & Isolation

Please see the Protocols for Testing, Quarantine & Isolation for more information about testing sites, as well as quarantine and isolation guidelines.

For additional information, please review the CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidelines.

How do I know if I’ve been exposed to COVID or am a close contact?

The CDC defines close contacts as anyone who is within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period with someone who has tested positive for COVID. You will be contacted during contact tracing if you are identified as a close contact.

If you know someone who has been exposed to COVID or has been identified as a close contact of someone else, you are one removed from the positive case. You are not the immediate close contact if you are one removed. You do not need to isolate or quarantine or get tested. If you have other factors to consider or any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider.

How long should an individual who has been exposed quarantine?

It depends. Students should contact the Student Health & Counseling Center with questions and concerns, while faculty and staff should contact their primary health care provider. 

If you have symptoms, you’ll need to take extra precautions, isolate, and get tested.

What if you already had COVID?

If you’ve had COVID within three months, you have natural immunity and do not need to quarantine if identified as a close contact. This determination needs to be made by your healthcare provider or Student Health & Counseling Center. 

Other Questions

What is the likelihood of another variant or additional mutations?

Dr. Bryan Hodge, family physician and chair of the Department of Public Health at MAHEC answered this question at the August 31, 2021 town hall: It’s highly likely and has already occurred. The pandemic is worldwide, and our ability to take measures worldwide will determine how long this lasts and how many strains we have to deal with. As long as the virus has a vector it will continue to spread. The more contagious and virulent a strain is the more it will become the dominant strain. It could also mutate to become more deadly. 

As Dr. Hodge stated, “We were hopeful it would be back to normal by fall semester, but it seems that it will extend for several years, with COVID outbreaks. It may not be the extent we’re seeing now. We have more tools at our disposal to develop new treatments and have the opportunity for a more global response.”

What is monoclonal antibody treatment?

Dr. Hodge (MAHEC) shared in the August town hall that MAHEC completes 40-50 treatments a week and it can be effective in preventing hospitalizations and death – about a 10-fold reduction in each. For more information, see

Are there specific trigger points that tighten public health policies?

Yes, we’ve seen those shifts, said Dr. Hodge in the August 2021 town hall. He noted several examples: If the percent positives are greater than 10%, testing may increase. When the percent positives are greater than 20%, it might require another shift or recalibration. The decisions are complex and cannot be done in isolation, however. 

Has UNC Asheville reported any trends or clusters of positive cases?

During Fall 2021, Spring 2021, and Fall 2020, UNC Asheville has had no clusters or trends identified.