Vaccinations & Testing

Vaccinations

How do vaccines factor into other measures?

Vaccinations are one of many mitigation strategies and one of the most effective ways to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and a community. With a campus that is fully vaccinated, restrictions or spacing determinants decrease if masking is in place as well. 

Does UNC Asheville have a vaccine mandate?

UNC Asheville follows UNC System guidance and strongly encourages the campus community to complete all eligible vaccine doses and boosters or be tested regularly.

How do I confirm my vaccination status?

In accordance with UNC System guidance, UNC Asheville faculty, staff, and students have been asked to share confirmation of vaccination or will be expected to participate in regular testing. Employees who have not yet confirmed your vaccination status, please do so as soon as possible by completing this short, confidential, secure form.

For information on how to view or print your COVID-19 vaccine information, please visit the NCDHHS website. For medical or religious exemptions, please contact Human Resources at HR@unca.edu.

How will my vaccination information be handled?

Student and employee vaccination information will be maintained securely and confidentially. The information will be accessed for public health purposes including monitoring community vaccination rates and maintaining compliance with public health guidance.

What COVID-19 vaccines are acceptable?

COVID-19 vaccines that have received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization or full authorization will be accepted. These are currently: 

What are the concerns with breakthrough cases?

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: We know that vaccines do not have 100% efficacy. Now that we’ve seen over time how our bodies respond, there are hypotheses of waning immunity. Breakthrough cases are a minority of cases and even more of a minority of hospitalizations and deaths. As of the end of August, only .3% of cases were breakthrough cases in Buncombe County. 

What is the vaccine availability and approval, as well as vaccines for children?

During fall 2021, the COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Clinic at the Reuter Center at UNC Asheville offered all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) for those seeking their first or second dose. All three COVID-19 booster shots (Pfizer, Moderna and J&J) are also available for those eligible. Beginning in November 2021, the clinic also offering the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5-11. The clinic is held in partnership with the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Can employees request a medical exemption to the vaccine policy?

Yes, contact Human Resources with any requests or questions about the vaccine policy. 

Testing

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

The best resource is for you to contact your local health department and ask about testing locations or available resources near you.   Here are a couple of sites that may be helpful as well.

https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/community-based-testing-sites/index.html

https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/find-my-testing-place

How and when should I get a COVID test?

If you have symptoms associated with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, get tested and isolate from others while you wait for results. 

If you have a significant exposure to someone with COVID-19, the current recommendation is to get tested on day 5 after the exposure, though your health care provider may give you specific directions based on your vaccination status. 

For more information from the CDC about quarantine and isolation, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

UNC Asheville’s surveillance testing for staff and faculty concludes the week of March 2. UNC Asheville will resume voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing for employees beginning Tuesday, March 15 – Thursday, April 14. See campus emails for dates and times.

Asymptomatic students seeking a surveillance test may still request one from the Health and Counseling Center. Please check email for future dates for student surveillance testing as well.

If you are experiencing symptoms, please do not come to the campus surveillance testing events. Contact your health care provider, use the NCDHHS online tool to find COVID testing near you, or go to the community testing locations. 

Is testing available on campus?

Surveillance testing was offered for employees beginning Thursday, Jan. 6 from 12-2 pm in Highsmith Student Union (HIG) 125 and continued through January and February, with additional dates in March and April. Please check email and the Weekly Wag for details.

Surveillance testing for students is announced weekly by email.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and do not come to campus.  Please call an Urgent Care Center, personal medical provider, or Buncombe County Health for medical consultation (testing resources: https://www.buncombecounty.org/countycenter/news-detail.aspx?id=18637). Students can contact the Health & Counseling Center. 

What if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19, completed isolation and returned to activities, but now I’m feeling sick again?

The CDC also provides guidance for individuals who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days (confirmed positive test using a viral test). You should stay home if you are feeling sick, and contact your health care provider. Please stay home until symptoms subside and you are fever-free for 24 hours. You may test positive for COVID-19 up to 90 days after having COVID-19. More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

What if I’ve had COVID-19 recently and cannot get a negative test result?

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID19 in the past 90 days are exempt from having to provide a negative test result.  You will need to provide proof of the positive test result which was within the past 90 days and more than 10 days prior to your arrival on campus.

What types of tests are accepted [for move-in, attending athletics games and other events, or for reporting to the University]?

For move-in requirements, athletics and events, PCR tests, rapid tests, at home or self-tests are accepted as proof of a negative test. To learn more about the types of tests, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

The University’s surveillance testing and community testing location offer PCR tests.

If you chose to use a self-test, please follow CDC guidance https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/self-testing.html. You may need to take more than one self-test, as a negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection, but it does not rule out infection. Repeating the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected.

What if there is a delay in processing my COVID-19 test?

Students and employees will be expected to provide proof that a COVID-19 test has been administered even if results are not yet available. If you are a student, faculty or staff member who is diagnosed with COVID-19, please complete this confidential form to notify the University. You may also use this form to report a concern about another person related to COVID-19.

Why is the required testing for unvaccinated individuals starting in September instead of the semester start in August?

The campus received guidance a few weeks prior about collecting vaccination status or requiring testing. That guidance included allowing time for our campus community to submit their information.

Who is eligible for testing at the Student Health and Counseling Center?

The CDC has guidance on who is eligible for testing, including people with symptoms, people who have had a close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, and people who have been referred to get tested by their healthcare provider. For more information, see the CDC guidelines.

The Student Health & Counseling center offers testing for students if they have a significant exposure or have symptoms. If you are exposed to COVID-19 and identified as a close contact, it’s recommended to wait 3-5 days for the virus to develop, then be tested. 

During that time, quarantine depends on whether the individual is vaccinated or unvaccinated. See the Testing, Isolation and Quarantine page for more information.

Wanting a test as a planning tool, for traveling over a weekend or being in social situations, is not an appropriate use of the test. It’s not a predictive or proactive measure, and the cost for the test may not be covered if it’s used in this way.  

Regular testing for students and employees who have not submitted confirmation of their vaccination status is scheduled on a weekly basis as a drive-through clinic at the Student Health & Counseling Center. Faculty and staff requiring this service will be contacted directly by Human Resources, and students will be contacted by the Student Health & Counseling Center.

What’s the distinction between diagnostic testing and surveillance testing?

When you have symptoms of COVID or are feeling sick, please stay home and contact your health care provider for diagnostic testing. Students should call the Health & Counseling Center at 828.251.6520.

As defined by the CDC, examples of diagnostic testing include:

  • Testing anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19

  • Testing vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were exposed to someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Exposure as a close contact is defined as within 6 feet of someone with COVID for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.

Screening tests are intended to identify unvaccinated people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic and do not have known, suspected, or reported exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Screening helps to identify unknown cases so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission.

Per UNC System guidance, regular testing for faculty, staff, and students who are unvaccinated or have an unverified vaccination status is now underway. 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.

UNC Asheville also welcomes and encourages employees who have been vaccinated to participate in surveillance testing on campus. Starting in mid-September, surveillance testing is offered for all employees in the Laurel Forum on Tuesday and Thursdays. Employees receive the result of the test in two days.

Employees who are experiencing COVID symptoms should not attend surveillance testing. Please stay home and contact your health care provider for diagnostic testing.

When should I go to surveillance testing opportunities on campus?

For students and employees who are unvaccinated, surveillance testing is expected and regularly scheduled in the fall 2021 semester.  Individuals who have not submitted proof of vaccination will be contacted by the Health & Counseling Center or Human Resources to schedule.

All faculty and staff are welcome and encouraged to participate in surveillance testing when it is available, no appointment necessary. These surveillance tests are available to any employee who has concerns about potential exposure to COVID. Employees who are vaccinated and identified as a close contact who need the test 3 to 5 days after the contact AND HAVE NO SYMPTOMS may attend these testing dates as well.

If you have symptoms of COVID or you are unvaccinated and have been contacted as a close contact, you should schedule a diagnostic test and not attend surveillance testing. Please stay home and contact your health care provider for testing options or visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/find-my-testing-place to find a location. Note that home tests will not be accepted.

For students who have symptoms or who are a close contact as defined by the CDC or who are traveling home to a household with an at-risk individual, the test should be scheduled through the Health & Counseling Center. Please call 828.251.6520. Surveillance is also be available to students. See emails from the COVID account for more details.

In all cases, the preferred method is a PCR test/testing. For more information on the types of tests and when to get tested, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html.