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Return to Campus

Following winter break NC State will require proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test for students, faculty and staff returning to live or work on campus, and for students living within a 1-mile radius of campus. Tests must be completed no more than five days before returning. Tests must be PCR (molecular) tests. Antigen test results will not be accepted. Samples can be nasal or saliva. Check with the testing service you use to ensure the test is a molecular or PCR test.

Return to Campus Testing and Testing Requirements for Spring 2021
No-cost COVID-19 testing will be available for students, faculty and staff at NC State in multiple locations across campus during the first three weeks in January.

FAQ & Spring Operations Planning and COVID Testing

Return to campus checklist for supervisors

Return to campus checklist for employees

Employees identified for required return to campus testing will receive an email from University Human Resources, including information on testing opportunities and instructions on result upload, early next week. The result upload portal will be live on January 2, 2021, the same day testing will begin on campus.

Students living on or returning to campus in various capacities will receive testing information from University Housing/Enrollment Management in the near future.

Contractors/Visitors are not required to be tested or provide results when on campus beginning in January. Should this expectation change, that information will be shared widely.

Below are the current university COVID-19 guidelines, which the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS) will follow. These guidelines provide expectations, responsibilities, and lines of communication for responding to reports of positive COVID-19 tests for individuals in the Department of MEAS following the university’s guidelines.

  1. Guidance is available on addressing symptomatic or presumed positive individuals in your campus setting. This provides quick actions, follow-up expectations and reporting links. The NC State contact tracing system is designed to protect privacy. The Department of MEAS administration is not contacted about new cases by Student Health Services (SHS) unless its members are considered close contacts.
  2. Department administration does not carry out contact tracing. That responsibility is carried out by professionals at SHS. People may be advised by department administration to self-quarantine while waiting for a risk assessment from the Contact Tracing Team. Supervisors who have been notified of a positive or presumed COVID-19 case by their direct report can also use this information as they see fit while respecting any privacy concerns the direct report might have.
  3. You are asked to self-report to SHS if you test positive for COVID-19 or if a health care provider tells you that you are presumed positive. You are also encouraged to let your supervisor know if you test positive or are presumed positive. These are the most reliable ways of protecting others once you are ill. If you are a graduate student, your supervisor is the corresponding Director of Graduate program to which you belong. If you are an undergraduate working, your supervisor would be considered the Director of Undergraduate Programs. If you are a postdoc, your supervisor has been formally assigned. Staff members are each assigned a supervisor by Human Resources. The department head is the supervisor for all faculty members.
  4. The department administration, in accordance with guidance from SHS, will only initiate appropriate communications when information about positive tests is received directly from the university contact tracing program, from individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are presumed positive, or from supervisors who have permission from COVID-19-positive individuals to share information that is useful to alert potential close contacts (e.g., building, floors and dates visited). Names, room numbers or other potential identifiers will not be shared without the expressed permission of the person tested or presumed COVID-19 positive.
  5. Use the SlowCOVIDNC app. This free app, developed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, notifies you if you have been in close contact with someone who has shared a positive COVID-19 test result. Learn more about how the app works. We highly recommend and encourage your participation in this state health department contact tracing program. This provides an additional contact tracing mechanism independent of the university. Apps like this rely on large numbers of users to provide effective contact tracing. The app will be more effective if most of our department members use it.
  6. Anyone who learns of the COVID-19 status of another individual should respect their right to privacy and only disseminate information if they have received permission to do so.
  7. All graduate students and undergraduates can get tested for COVID-19 at Student Health Services. Faculty and staff who are identified by the Contact Tracing Program can get tested through Student Health Services. Any other faculty and staff can get tested at various locations (e.g., statewideWake County and Johnston County). Optimally, tests should be taken between 4-6 days after exposure.
  8. If you are a supervisor who has been notified by a direct report that they have tested positive for COVID-19, contact the university’s Emergency Management and Mission Continuity (EMMC) unit at 919.515.9657. EMMC will provide guidance on contact tracing, whether to sanitize shared equipment, and whether to close the workspace. Ask the individual to adhere to the university’s community standards and guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms or from the date of the test if there are no symptoms. If the person self-reporting has provided permission to notify others, contact the department head (Lewis Owen, and the associate department head (Astrid Schnetzer, to facilitate prompt response by departmental administration. For any other person who has been in close contact with an infectious individual or for which there is reason to believe they may have been exposed, the CDC recommends at least 14 days of quarantine from the time of last contact with an infected person. Testing during quarantine does not change the duration of quarantine. It would inform the individual if they are, themselves, now infected.
  9. If you are not comfortable reporting a positive COVID-19 test result to your supervisor, please consider contacting Lewis Owen ( or Astrid Schnetzer ( They will provide further guidance in relation to NC State guidelines.
  10. SHS, EMMC and the Office of Research and Innovation are continually monitoring COVID-19 and will issue immediate decisions on whether to close space/buildings or to take other actions such as reducing occupancy density. In addition, the department administration will evaluate ongoing conditions and operations and make adjustments as necessary.

This pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. As questions and speculations swirl, we struggle to sort through our feelings and reactions. The department is committed to your safety. Our pride in the work every employee and student contribute has never been greater and will never waiver. We encourage every member of our department to reach out if you require support and assistance during these difficult times, especially for those who may be experiencing mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. In addition to your fellow department members, NC State also offers resources to assist you if needed.

Additional Resources:

Protect the Pack

NC State Covid Information

NC State Counseling Center 

For graduate students, contact Tina Yang, LCSW, Triage Counselor at the Counseling Center,

Where to get tested

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program 

Ethics Point Hotline