Western Carolina University has resumed as close to normal operations this fall, while continuing to monitor the relevant scientific recommendations on COVID protocols. The resumption of normal operations includes in-person classes, fall sports, campus events and activities, community engagement and a return to full occupancy residential living. All buildings and facilities, including dining operations, the library and the campus recreation center will return to normal hours and increased capacity.
WCU strongly encourages individuals to be vaccinated by September 15 or be subject to regular testing beginning the week of September 20. WCU Health Services continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 to make your appointment. We are closely evaluating the recent CDC recommendations and the uptick in positive tests and COVID-19 case numbers due to the delta variant spreading primarily among the unvaccinated throughout North Carolina and the nation. Vaccination of all eligible faculty, staff and students is the MOST effective strategy to ensure that our on-going processes to resume normal operations remain on track.
As WCU continues as close to normal operations this fall, students, faculty, and staff are being asked to report their vaccination status to the university.
We do not plan to share individual vaccine status information and will only share aggregate group percentages of vaccine status received as part of on-going planning.
Each Friday, at 3pm, randomly selected students, faculty and staff will be notified via their Catamount or WCU email. It is possible a name may be selected more than once during this semester, even in subsequent weeks. In the email, individuals will receive the scheduling link of both WCU testing locations.
Tests results must be submitted by 5pm on Sunday of the following week.
If you are vaccinated after the testing starts, please upload your vaccine card at the vaccination status portal. Once your vaccination status is updated, your name will be removed from the weekly testing list once you have been fully vaccinate for 14 days.
Students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated are eligible for the vaccination award pool.
Anyone who would like the vaccine can schedule an appointment with the Vaccine Clinic at WCU Health Services.
You must be fully vaccinated for 14 days before you will be removed from the testing pool.
Additionally, if there was an issue validating your card it would not be accepted.
Common issues include:
You should have received an email letting you know that your proof of vaccination could not be validated. If you have additional questions, please contact email@example.com to ask about your vaccination validation.
If you received your vaccine in the state of North Carolina, you can find your vaccination status online through the Department of Health and Human Services and follow the steps to download your information and resubmit it for verification.
If you received your vaccination in another state, please contact the Department of Health in that state for assistance.
If you received your vaccine from a pharmacy participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program or from another federal vaccine provider such as the U.S. Department of Defense, you will need to get your vaccine information directly from that provider. It is not available in the North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Portal.
WCU offers two options for surveillance testing:
You may seek a test from another location at your own expense. COVID test submittals from other locations must be validated by full name on the test, date, read by a certified medical provider or processed by a certified lab.
Student can contact firstname.lastname@example.org about the delay in results
Faculty and Staff can contact email@example.com.
Individuals must upload the test results promptly after receipt.
Students will be notified via email with information regarding lack of compliance with mandatory testing and may be subject to Code of Student Conduct charges.
Employees will be notified via email with information regarding lack of compliance with mandatory testing.
Upload your positive result to the testing site to satisfy the mandatory requirement.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19, or make you test positive for COVID-19. The vaccines do not contain the actual COVID-19 virus. If you test positive, you likely have COVID-19 due to a recent exposure.
No. Surveillance testing is a rapid antigen test to diagnosis current COVID-19. Antibody testing helps us better understand the spread of COVID-19 and may show evidence that you have had COVID-19 in the past.
If your test result is positive, contact your healthcare provider for medical guidance. If the surveillance test was a rapid antigen test, your provider will most likely recommend a follow up molecular test to confirm that your result is not a false positive.
Isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the test. Reach out to anyone you have been in contact with over the past 48 hours where the contact lasted longer than 15 minutes and was within 6 feet.
COVID test submittals must be validated by full name on the test, date, read by a certified medical provider or processed by a certified lab.
Students who are selected for testing and who wish to request a reasonable accommodation related to testing may contact the Student Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty and staff who are selected for testing and who wish to request a reasonable accommodation related to testing may contact Matt Brown at email@example.com.
Face coverings are required in all public indoor spaces on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, as well as the Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville. Face coverings should be worn over the mouth and nose. Please reference the CDC guidelines for proper mask wearing.
University leadership has been evaluating the latest trends in COVID-19 transmission and the newly released CDC guidance. As you know, the COVID-19 virus has produced a number of variants, the latest being the delta variant, which has prompted great concern among health professionals nationwide. The delta variant has a much greater transmission rate, particularly among those who remain unvaccinated. In response, the CDC issued new recommendations regarding face coverings in indoor spaces for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, in counties with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19.
Currently, Western North Carolina, and much of the state, fall in these levels of community transmission. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the face covering requirement in all indoor public spaces. Any change in the face covering requirement will be communicated to the campus community.
Students, faculty and staff will be asked to report their vaccination status to the University. This information will be used to inform WCU’s on-going preparations and planning.
Centralized collection of vaccination status data will be handled via an online reporting tool. Information on when and how to submit vaccine status will be communicated directly to faculty, staff and students.
Subunits (Residential Living, Health Services, Athletics, etc.) may also collect student vaccination status on an as-needed basis.
The NC COVID-19 Vaccine Portal from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is a free, fast and secure way for many North Carolinians to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or print a copy of your COVID-19 vaccine information for other purposes.
Any faculty, staff or student not fully vaccinated by September 15 should expect to be subject to regular testing protocols beginning the week of September 20. Individuals may report their vaccination status by going to the Fall Operations and Procedures site and selecting the appropriate link under Vaccine Status Submission. WCU Health Services continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 to make your appointment.
All full and part-time students who will attend any portion of their coursework or other university activity in person in Cullowhee or at Biltmore Park will be expected to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or be part of a regular testing regimen.
All full and part-time faculty and staff who will conduct any portion of their work in person and on campus in Cullowhee or at Biltmore Park will be expected to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or be part of a regular testing regimen.
We do not plan to share individual vaccine status information. We plan to share only aggregate group percentages of vaccine status for faculty, staff and students.
YES. The WCU Vaccine Clinic will continue to operate regular hours (Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm) for free vaccination appointments. The clinic will serve faculty/staff/students and will continue to offer Pfizer and J&J vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 for an appointment.
WCU, a constituent institution of the UNC System, strongly and emphatically urges all members of its campus community to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The UNC System has advised campuses that, outside an amendment to existing law, the Commission for Public Health is the only entity clearly authorized by North Carolina state law to mandate immunizations for college students in this state.
Surveillance testing will be handled on-demand. Athletics will offer surveillance testing per NCAA guidelines. Residential Living may utilize targeted testing in the residence halls.
We will use PCR and rapid antigen testing. We do not plan to use saliva testing or waste water sampling.
We will follow CDC protocols to determine isolation/quarantine recommendations for students based on vaccination status.
Currently, we have 125 beds for isolation and quarantine (resident hall spaces at Madison and spaces at the Village).
Shared community standards remind us that we each have personal responsibility for actions that may affect our own health and the health of our friends, colleagues, and the broader campus community. Our collective acceptance of this shared responsibility will be the most effective strategy we will have at our disposal in the challenging months ahead. We know that Catamounts Care and we have developed a set of standards to encourage everyone to put the well-being of themselves and others top of mind.