Health & Safety Guidance

If you are sick, you must stay home. Please follow the current CDC guidance for symptoms of COVID-19, and assess your health before coming to campus.


COVID-19 Symptoms & Exposure – What to Do

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, use the COVID-19 Symptoms & Exposure flowchart to determine your next steps.

Faculty who have students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive for COVID-19 can use the Faculty in the Classroom flowchart for next steps.

Masks

To ensure the health and well-being of our entire campus community, effective immediately, UNC Asheville will require all individuals, vaccinated or unvaccinated, to wear CDC-approved masks in all indoor spaces with the exception of their own personal office and living spaces. This expectation aligns with recently revised CDC guidance.

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.

Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccines have been scientifically proven to be our best weapon against the virus. Vaccines are safe, free, and highly effective in protecting against serious illness from all known variants.

In accordance with new COVID-19 guidance just released from the UNC System, all UNC Asheville faculty, staff, and students will be asked to share confirmation of their vaccination status. Detailed instructions for faculty and staff will be forthcoming on how to upload vaccination cards through a secure, confidential form. Students have already received instructions on how to submit their information to the Health and Counseling Center.

Please see the vaccination FAQ for more information.

Once the data is available, the verified vaccination rate will be shared with the campus. After September 1, any member of the campus community who has not shared confirmation of vaccination by uploading their vaccine card will be expected to participate in weekly COVID testing. More details on this process will be available soon.

The UNC System guidance tracks with recent announcements from state, federal, and local authorities about mitigating the threat of COVID-19 while moving our campuses closer to normal operations.

Vaccination Sites

To find vaccine sites near you, please visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHSS) website. UNC Asheville employees will be permitted time off from work to get the vaccine as well as time off the following day if needed to tend to any symptoms associated with the vaccine. See here for further details.

Meeting health and safety guidelines as well as the expectations of the UNC System is integral to our efforts to accomplish our academic mission, support academic and co-curricular success of our students, and continue continuity of employment for all employees as we strive to return to a more normal campus experience for everyone.

Students who have questions should contact the UNC Asheville Health and Counseling Center at (828) 251-6520. Faculty and staff who have questions should contact Human Resources at (828) 251-6605 or HR@unca.edu.

Hand-Washing

Hand hygiene throughout the day is critical, especially after touching public surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, railings, desks, equipment), after sneezing or coughing, after using the bathroom, and before and after eating. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.

Hand sanitizer dispensers are available throughout all campus buildings.

Screens and Physical Dividers

Larger screens and physical barriers have been installed in common-use areas to provide separate office/study spaces, or increase health and safety in customer services.

Practice Good Hygiene

Remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer following coughing or sneezing.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the responsibility of the Buncombe County Health Department; however, UNC Asheville’s Health and Counseling staff is working collaboratively with them to identify potential cases. Designated UNC Asheville staff have been trained using a formal contact tracing educational program to assist the Health Department in contact tracing.

During contact tracing, all close contacts will be notified. Contact tracing is conducted for close contacts (any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period starting 2 days before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated) of laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.

If you have not been identified as a contact within this criteria, you will not be contacted. You might wonder why you aren’t contacted when you’ve heard someone in your class or department has been tested for COVID-19 or confirmed positive for COVID-19. Keep in mind that those details must be verified first and that patient privacy is also protected.

If students are identified as a contact, they will receive a call from UNC Asheville Health & Counseling Center. Please answer this call as it is vital to have a prompt response as we work together to keep our campus safe and healthy.

If a contact is identified among our employees or outside of the campus community, Buncombe County Health Department will follow up. Please answer or respond to these calls promptly.

Here’s an example of what to expect if you are contacted and how contact tracing works.

If you have more questions or concerns about this topic, please email covidupdates@unca.edu, so we can address those topics in upcoming emails. Next week, we’ll provide more information on what to do if you are contacted, including testing, as well as the differences between quarantine and isolation.

Learn more about contact tracing:


Health Resources

Self-care is crucial in times of stress. We hope these resources are helpful as we all try to adapt to the evolving nature of this situation. Be well and please take care of yourselves and one another.

Health & Counseling Center

The Health and Counseling Center hours are Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Students can call the free After-Hours Support Line – Bulldog Health Link at 1.888.267.3675 anytime from 5 p.m. – 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday 24 hours/day.

Employees can visit the HR website for information on available services.

Managing Stress and Practicing Self-Care

General Resources
The CDC webpage on managing anxiety and stress provides a practical overview of self-care and resources. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a comprehensive information and resource guide that addresses self-care and community/national resources.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tip sheet answers questions about COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

The American Psychological Association website offers resources and links of various types.

The World Health Organization has a 20-page guide focused on addressing mental health aspects of COVID-19.

Daily Strategies
The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends daily strategies for self-care and awareness. Following is a summary of general recommendations:

  • Space. Create a structured, dedicated work environment, and include regular patterns of self-care.
  • Routine. Try to maintain a routine that reflects your normal day routine, including how you dress and structured breaks for lunch and mini-breaks.
  • Activity. Regular exercise and mindfulness activities are key during times of crisis. Exercise and mindfulness activities help mitigate depression and anxiety while improving cognition and confidence. Develop a daily routine for both, even if this is as simple as a 15-minute walk and/or quiet time with deep breathing.
  • Time and Energy Management. Be mindful of over- or under-working. Try to structure your daily work in a way that mirrors your normal workplace hours. In addition to time management, be aware of the way in which you eat, self-talk, and communicate with others. Self-compassion and self-care provide stability and confidence.
  • Accessibility. Develop ways in which you are accessible to colleagues, friends and family.
  • Face Time and Connectivity. Humans need to feel and be connected. Utilize video tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook and WhatsApp to connect visually.
  • Resources. Map out your important resources, ranging from daily necessities to emergency management.
  • Support. The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness website provides a comprehensive guide to national and local resources. Know that there is help when needed.

Food Security

The mission of UNC Asheville’s Food Equity Initiative is to ensure that every member of the UNC Asheville community has access to adequate, culturally appropriate and nutritious food for themselves and their families. Please contact Jordan Perry at jperry2@unca.edu to be connected with these resources.