On May 21, Chancellor Randy Woodson announced NC State will partially integrate Governor Roy Cooper’s new COVID-19 guidelines into the university's COVID-19 Community Standards. This marks a giant leap towards normalcy for the university while keeping the safety of unvaccinated students at the forefront of the conversation. Out of everything Chancellor Woodson could have done, this policy is the best option because it offers rewards to community members who are doing their part and allows for effective and fair enforcement of NC State’s community standards among all students, whether they are vaccinated or not.
It makes sense why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released these new guidelines. As my dad likes to say, what would be the point of getting vaccinated if nothing changes? These new guidelines provide a sense of hope that our society is recovering from this horrible pandemic on a path towards normalcy.
But the NC State community isn’t fully vaccinated. The NC Department of Health and Human Services reported on May 21 that only 47.4% of the North Carolina adult population are fully vaccinated and only 52.2% are even partially vaccinated, implying less than half of the North Carolina adult population are covered under the new CDC guidelines.
Chancellor Woodson had to make the grueling decision of how NC State was going to integrate these latest guidelines into the university's community standards when about half of our Wolfpack community is still at risk of transmitting the virus, based on the numbers mentioned above. While continuing to require masks in all indoor facilities may seem pointless and annoying to vaccinated individuals, it is the only way NC State can fairly enforce the guidelines and keep everyone safe. After all, having two separate guidelines for those who are and are not vaccinated is just not possible. His solution may not be perfect by any means, but it does provide an effective balance between safety and the latest science.
There are a few things NC State students can do to help the university return to full normalcy faster. Students who are already vaccinated can upload their COVID-19 vaccination record to their MyHealthyPack Portal in less than five minutes. This will provide the university with the proof needed to be able to exempt students from certain community standards and it will help NC State track how many community members are fully vaccinated.
After all, NC State cannot safely return to full normalcy if they do not have a complete understanding of the percentage of community members who are vaccinated. I think it’s safe to say we’re all fed up with this pandemic and want to get our lives back on track. We all need to do our part to keep the community safe, and the easiest way to do this is to respect and follow the guidelines implemented by the university.
For instructions on uploading vaccination information and making vaccination appointments, visit NC State’s Coronavirus Vaccination website.
For more information about NC State's COVID-19 guidelines, visit the Protect the Pack website.