NC A&T chancellor talks students’ return amid ongoing pandemic

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — This fall all campuses in the UNC System are operating under a “Get Vaccinated or Get Tested Weekly” requirement for students and staff.

“The focus on requiring that everyone report, including me, whether I have been vaccinated, is being done and has been done electronically,” North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor Harold Martin Sr. said. “We will evaluate the database that captures the information of all the employees and students.”

The university will pay all costs for the weekly testing of unvaccinated students, and staff.

Right now, about 65 percent of employees are vaccinated, and there is a 40 percent level of vaccination for students.

Jamille Whitlow, a senior A&T, says she hasn’t yet rolled up her sleeve and is prepared for frequent testing.

“I’m not bothered by it at all. I think it needs to be enforced. If I had a problem with it, I would be at home. and I feel if people do, they should stay at home,” Whitlow said.

There are currently 10 positive COVID cases at North Carolina A&T University.

Three of those students returned home. The other seven are in Haley Hall, a 200-bed residence hall set aside to accommodate all students who test positive.

“If that facility begins to fill up, if we reach that level of concern, we will then begin looking at options of what we can do to reduce the rate before we begin to focus on the options of pivoting to potentially move fully online,” Martin said.

Some of those options include increased testing, reduced gatherings in common areas, and replacing the dining hall with takeout.

He also addressed if COVID boosters will also be required. He says right now it doesn’t appear as if the booster is focused on students, but rather health care workers, those who are immunocompromised and the elderly.

“We will manage that and assure that we are timely in administering vaccines, inclusive of the booster to our employees, immediately upon appropriate approval without exception, and at our costs for sure. We will monitor if it will include students, and if it does, we will begin to administer the vaccine,” he said.

Jerry Humphrey III is a senior at the university. He says he got vaccinated to protect himself with the surge of the delta variant. He says with the precautions in place he feels safe going to class each week.

“The mask being worn in every building I think that is very important. A lot of people my age get lazy and don’t want to wear their masks properly. I feel with everyone wearing a mask, it will help keep COVID cases down,” he said.

FOX8 also asked if on-campus housing will look different. The chancellor said there may be students who are vaccinated housed with a roommate who’s unvaccinated. He reiterated the weekly COVID testing will help identify students who have the virus.

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