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Campus Update

September 1, 2021

Apodaca Science Building Grand Opening - Parking and Traffic Impact

The official grand opening of the new Apodaca Science Building will take place this week on Friday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be held near the main west entrance to the building on Memorial Drive. We expect many external visitors and guests to attend this event. A number of parking spots behind Killian Building and the University Center along Memorial Drive will be reserved for campus guests, so please be aware of parking and traffic congestion in that area of campus on Friday afternoon. 

New deadline for "Get Vaccinated or Get Tested" – Sept. 15

Campus leadership has revised the deadline for faculty, staff, and students to get vaccinated or be subject to regular testing. Initially, a deadline of Oct. 1 was established to accommodate testing capacity and provide individuals time to become fully vaccinated. Updates to testing availability and staffing will now allow the campus to move that deadline up to Sept 15. Any faculty, staff or student who has not submitted proof of full vaccination by Sept. 15 will be subject to regular testing, which will begin the week of Sept. 20. Additional details on testing protocols will be forthcoming next week. 

WCU Health Services continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 to make your appointment.

Vaccination Rates

To date, 50% of resident credit students (those living on and off campus) have submitted proof of being fully vaccinated. 

In addition, 90% of permanent faculty and 80% of permanent staff have attested to being fully vaccinated. Also, 81% of ALL employees (permanent, temporary, and part-time) have attested to being fully vaccinated. University staff are working to validate the attestations, and currently 57% of all employees have submitted proof of vaccination. 

Employees who have attested they are fully vaccinated, but have not yet uploaded proof of vaccination, are urged to do so as soon as possible. Those employees who do not submit proof of vaccination in addition to the attestation will be subject to regular testing. See information below on how to upload vaccination status.

Upload Vaccination Status

All faculty, staff and students should update their vaccination status as soon as possible on the Fall 2021 Operations and Procedures web page. Select the appropriate link under Vaccine Status Submission.

Vaccine Incentives

The first vaccine incentive cash awards to employees and students will begin this week. As a reminder, you can submit proof of vaccination through Sept. 30 to be eligible to win. 

To encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated and to express our appreciation to those who have already taken this important step to protect our community, WCU will hold random drawings for 16 $500 awards to employees and 32 $500 awards to students. 

COVID-19 and Catamounts Care

All faculty, staff, students and visitors should continue to follow the Catamounts Care protocols against the delta variant of COVID-19. 

Face coverings remain a requirement in all public indoor spaces and on the CatTran. Face coverings are required in campus dining facilities when not actively eating or drinking. In addition, face coverings are strongly encouraged in high-density outdoor settings, such as sporting events or other campus events where social distancing is difficult.

FAQs about COVID-19 testing at Health Services, student absence notification and student quarantine protocols.

Please visit FAQs for more information about COVID-19 this fall, including contact information. 

Employee COVID-19 Reporting

Any faculty or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who must quarantine due to a close contact exposure, should not report to work (or if at work, go home immediately) and should contact their supervisor as soon as possible. Once notified, supervisors are required to complete the COVID-19 EXPOSURE SUPERVISOR REPORTING FORM, which can be found on the Employee Resources page, and inform the employee that a University Return to Work Coordinator will be contacting them.

 

August 25, 2021

Vaccination Rate

To date, 88% of permanent, full-time faculty and 76% of permanent, full-time staff have attested they are fully vaccinated. Additionally, 44% of resident credit students (which includes those who live on campus and off campus) have attested they are fully vaccinated. Staff continue to validate the attestations and we continue to urge students to report their vaccination status and, if not yet vaccinated, to do so as soon as possible.

Coach Peacock Memorial Service

Catamount Athletics will host a memorial service for offensive line coach John Peacock Friday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. at E.J. Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field. 

Haywood County Flood Impact

The severe flooding last week that resulted from the remnants of tropical storm Fred has devastated many of our surrounding communities. You have seen and, I am sure, heard that some have lost their homes, property, and lives as a result. If you are aware of any employees that have been impacted, please let Human Resources know as soon as possible. WCU is exploring what possible leave options, if any, may be available to these individuals.    

In addition, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning is organizing a drive for donations through Monday, Aug. 30. Please see this link for more information for items needed, suggested monetary donations and drop off locations. For more information contact Lane Perry (laneperry@wcu.edu).

Parking Update

The following parking spaces have been added for faculty/staff.

  • Baptist 4 Tier Lot #37 - 40+ spaces on the second tier identified by signs.
  • Killian East Metered Lot #34 - 10 metered spaces identified by signs. The 10 metered spaces identified here are temporary until notified.

In addition, 360 spaces (of the roughly 1,000 total) in the new Parking Garage are now open and we expect the remainder to open up later this week. 

COVID-19 and Catamounts Care

The following includes updates and reminders as faculty, staff and students are urged to continue to follow the Catamounts Care protocols against the delta variant of COVID-19.

FAQs for COVID-19, Fall 2021

Please visit FAQs for for more information about COVID-19 this fall, including contact information. 

Employee COVID-19 Reporting

Any faculty or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who must quarantine due to a close contact exposure, should not report to work (or if at work, go home immediately) and should contact their supervisor as soon as possible. Once notified, supervisors are required to complete the COVID-19 EXPOSURE SUPERVISOR REPORTING FORM, which can be found on the Employee Resources page, and inform the employee that a University Return to Work Coordinator will be contacting them.

Get Vaccinated or Get Tested Regularly

All faculty, staff and students are strongly urged to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Those who do not upload valid proof of vaccination by Oct. 1 will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing. Details on testing protocols will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. WCU Health Services continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 to make your appointment.

Upload Vaccination Status

All faculty, staff and students should update their vaccination status as soon as possible. 

Vaccine Incentives

To encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated and to express our appreciation to those who have already taken this important step to protect our community, WCU will hold random drawings for $500 awards from the list of those who are fully vaccinated.

  • Two $500 awards for each vaccination month will be awarded to employees (faculty and staff) who get vaccinated before Oct. 1. A total of sixteen cash awards (two each in February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September) will be awarded to employees. The eligibility pool is based on the month(s) in which you received your vaccinations.
  • Four $500 awards for each vaccination month will be made to students who get vaccinated before Oct. 1. A total of 32 awards (four each in February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September) will be made to students. The eligibility pool is based on the month(s) in which you received your vaccinations.

August 21, 2021

Hello Catamounts!

I am thrilled to welcome you to the 2021-2022 academic year! We have a robust, in-person experience planned for this fall. Our campus in Cullowhee and our instructional site in Asheville are open and our faculty and staff are ready to welcome students back for face-to-face instruction. The WCU community is here to support you every step of the way in your academic journey and career development. 

This fall, we are excited to offer in-person classes for residential students, fall sports with fans in the stands, campus events and activities, community engagement, and a return to full occupancy residential living. Campus buildings and facilities, including dining operations, the library and the recreation center have returned to normal hours and increased capacity.

We are all in this together as we continue to navigate through a global pandemic. As a reminder, any changes to campus operations, including modality of instruction, will be communicated via our website, an official email from me, and on our official WCU social media accounts.

Your lives are about to change in a positive way as we help to grow your minds here at one of the preeminent regional comprehensive universities in the Southeast. We are totally committed to engaging you so that you have the best educational experience while you are here.

Let’s have a wonderful fall semester!

 

August, 18, 2021

The following includes updates and reminders as faculty, staff and students are urged to continue to follow safe protocols against the delta variant of COVID-19.

Employee COVID-19 Reporting

Any faculty or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19 OR who must quarantine due to a close contact exposure should not report to work (or if at work go home immediately) and should contact their supervisor as soon as possible. Once notified, supervisors are required to complete the COVID-19 EXPOSURE SUPERVISOR REPORTING FORM, which can be found on the Employee Resources page, and inform the employee that a University Return to Work Coordinator will be contacting them.

Get Vaccinated or Get Tested Regularly

All faculty, staff, and students are strongly urged to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Those who do not upload valid proof of vaccination by October 1 will be subject to regular COVID testing. Details on testing protocols will be forthcoming. WCU Health Services continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 to make your appointment.

Upload Vaccination Status

All faculty, staff and students should update their vaccination status as soon as possible. Links to report your vaccination status can be found on the Fall 2021 Operations and Procedures page.

Vaccine Incentives

To encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated and to express our appreciation to those who have already taken this important step to protect our community, WCU will hold random drawings for $500 awards from the list of those who are fully vaccinated.

  • Two $500 awards for each vaccination month will be awarded to employees (faculty and staff) who get vaccinated before Oct. 1. A total of sixteen cash awards (two each in February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September) will be awarded to employees. The eligibility pool is based on the month(s) in which you received your vaccinations.
  • Four $500 awards for each vaccination month will be made to students who get vaccinated before Oct. 1. A total of 32 awards (four each in February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September) will be made to students. The eligibility pool is based on the month(s) in which you received your vaccinations.

 

August 10, 2021

Dear WCU Campus Community,

As senior campus leaders, we continue to refine the University’s plans around the “get vaccinated or get tested regularly” UNC System guidance. Following are several updates on our preparations. Further information on the testing and follow-up protocols, procedures and frequency will be forthcoming as our plans mature.

By what date will I need to be fully vaccinated before I will be subject to regular testing?

Any faculty, staff or student not fully vaccinated by Oct. 1 should expect to be subject to regular testing protocols after that date. Individuals may report their vaccination status by going to the Fall Operations and Procedures site and selecting the appropriate link under Vaccine Status Submission.  

Who will be included in “get vaccinated or get tested regularly”?

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 realize that most, if not all of you, would like to have firm guarantees and immediate answers to what the future holds with respect to this pandemic and the University’s response to it. We want that, too. Unfortunately, the facts of the pandemic evolve quickly, resulting in the development and redevelopment of the answers that support our University.

We have accomplished so much over the past 18 months and will continue to do so in the months ahead. The journey has not been easy and your efforts have not gone unnoticed. We see the work, the preparation and the grace and kindness you continue to show each other. We’ve also seen (and experienced) the impatience, the frustration and the exhaustion that has come to us in these uncertain times. The way ahead may appear a little less smooth than we hoped just a few short months ago, but the resilience that we know each of you possess will see us through the challenges ahead.

We remain excited and committed to a robust campus experience this fall. We can, and will, deliver on our promise to provide the best education to our students both in and out of the classroom. Thanks to each of you for your efforts to get us there. We are grateful.

Sincerely,

Kelli R. Brown
Chancellor

Mike Byers

Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance

Shea Browning

General Counsel

Richard Starnes
Provost

Jamie Raynor

Vice Chancellor, Advancement

Craig Fowler

Chief Information Officer

Jessica Woods

Assistant to the Chancellor

Sam Miller
Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs

Melissa Canady Wargo

Chief of Staff

Alex Gary

Director of Athletics

August 5, 2021

UNC System Establishes "Get Vaccinated or Get Tested" Policy

Dear WCU Campus Community,
 
I have received new guidance from the UNC System to establish a “get vaccinated or get tested” expectation for all faculty, staff and students at UNC System institutions. Campus leadership is reviewing the guidance and will be developing plans for ensuring all eligible faculty, staff and students are vaccinated or subject to a regular testing regimen.   
 
I understand there will be many questions related to the details and logistics around the expectation of “get vaccinated or get tested." Campus leadership and I are working diligently to prepare an implementation plan in a manner appropriate to the needs and resources of Western Carolina University. More information will be forthcoming soon. 
 
Faculty and staff will be asked to report their vaccination status beginning tomorrow, Aug. 6, when they log into myWCU. Students received communication earlier this week on how to report their status. 
 
Catamounts, it is clear that we are not yet out of the woods with respect to COVID-19. It is equally clear that vaccination remains our best path forward in defeating this virus and ensuring a robust campus experience for all. I continue to strongly urge that all faculty, staff and students who have not yet done so, get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Our WCU Clinic is offering free COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 828-227-7640 to make your appointment.
Sincerely,

Kelli R. Brown
Chancellor

 

July, 28, 2021

A Message from Chancellor Brown Regarding Fall 2021

Dear Campus Community,

We are moving forward with plans to resume as close to normal operations as possible this fall, while continuing to monitor the relevant scientific recommendations on COVID protocols. The resumption of normal operations will include 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.

If you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, I strongly and urgently encourage you to do so at your earliest opportunity. See the FAQ below for more information on the WCU Vaccine Clinic. 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. 

Below, I’ve provided responses to several frequently asked questions received over the last several days. You can also find this information on the website at fall 2021 operations and procedures, also available at info.wcu.edu/fall2021

Face coverings will be required during instructional activities (during classes, labs, etc.); in health services, clinics, and isolation and quarantine facilities (Bird, Madison, etc.); and in the university’s public transportation vehicles.

WCU will continue to emphasize its Catamounts Care community standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the academic year. We also encourage faculty, staff, and students to follow current CDC guidance with respect to recommendations on face coverings in other circumstances and locations. Current CDC guidance recommends face coverings in indoor locations for ALL individuals in areas with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19. CDC guidance is subject to change based on current conditions and the University may alter its face covering requirements as needed.  

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 beginning early next week. Subunits (Residential Living, Health Services, Athletics, etc.) may also collect student vaccination status on an as-needed basis.

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, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 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.

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.

Contact tracing will be handled by the Jackson County Public Health Department. 

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 (residence hall spaces at Madison and spaces at the Village). 

Individual PPE kits are available in the University Center for all faculty, staff and students. Departments may also request PPE kits for faculty and staff through Facilities Management. 

As we continue to navigate the global pandemic, I extend my most sincere thank you to our dedicated faculty, staff and students for your hard work, dedication and patience as we prepare for an exciting fall semester. 

Sincerely,

Kelli R. Brown
Chancellor

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