From Office of Student Life | August 21, 2020

Greetings Pacers:

We are thrilled to have you back on campus.  We all knew coming into this semester that it would be a very different experience.  I believe it can be one of our best, if we all work together to remain safe.  We are proud of you for consistently wearing your masks and practicing social distancing.

Many of you have learned that UNC Chapel Hill and NC State experienced COVID-19 clusters soon after opening.  This has caused them both to move to remote and online classes.

Last night, we learned of our first, on-campus positive case result this semester. The individual is isolating and doing well. Given that this is a pandemic, we knew this was going to happen, and we have been preparing for it . So now that a first case is diagnosed, what do we do?

Wake County has begun formal contact tracing.  This can help slow the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Helping people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 get tested.
  • Asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or self-quarantine if they have been in close contact with an individual who tested positive.

Quarantine means that a person has been in close contact with a person that has received a positive result.  It does not mean the person has COVID-19. Isolation means the person has received a positive test result and must self-isolate.

The most common question about a case:

Q: If I was in a class or area with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, do I have to self-quarantine?

A: The risk of spread is very, very low if all protocols were being followed. Contact tracing only identifies those who were within 6 feet of the ill person for more than 15 minutes without a mask on. Wake County will instruct any and all persons necessary as they perform tracing.

What can you do?  Please remember that this virus knows no boundaries. It can and will spread regardless of age or other personal characteristics. We must all remain vigilant in observing safe practices:  Wear your mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.  You can also:

  • Sign the PacerPreparedPledge
  • Kindly, but clearly, remind others to comply with the guidelines
  • Practice these safety practices both on and off campus – weekday and particularly on the weekends

We are keeping the campus community and larger community updated through the tracker on our Pacers are Prepared website.

We all want to remain on campus and have a terrific, in-person semester – but as we are seeing at institutions around us – that is not an easy task. If we all do our part, on-campus and off-campus, we can help minimize the spread and fulfill our goal of starting and finishing our semester together here at 15 E. Peace St.

With Peace,

Frank P. Rizzo (he/him/his)

Vice President for Student Life