RUL 04.21.01 – Personal Safety Requirements Related to COVID-19

History: First Issued: July 21, 2020. Last Revised: December 8, 2020.

Related Policies
POL 04.20.07 – Occupational Health and Safety Policy
POL 11.35.01 – Code of Student Conduct
REG 11.35.02 – Student Discipline Procedures
RUL 11.31.01 – University Housing Disciplinary Procedures

Additional References:
Protect the Pack – COVID-19 Resources
NC Department of Health and Human Services – Guidance for Higher Education
COVID-19 Orders and Directives
Student Conduct Summary of COVID-19 Community Standards

Contact Information:
Vice Chancellor of Academic & Student Affairs (919-515-3443)
Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources (919-515-2446)

1. Purpose

At NC State, we are committed to protecting the Pack as we work and live through the COVID-19 pandemic. This rule sets forth the personal safety requirements and expectations for complying with the Protect the Pack Community Standards, and other practices and guidance implemented by NC State, in order to promote a safe and supportive environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

2. Definitions

2.1 “Face Covering” means a piece of material (including cloth), surgical mask or respirator that fits snugly over the nose and mouth and against the sides of the face; is able to be secured by ties, straps, or ear loops; allows for unrestricted breathing; and in the case of cloth face coverings, is able to be laundered and dried without damage or change to shape. A Face Covering is an added layer of safety while in a public space. Face Coverings are in addition to, not a substitution for, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and staying home when sick.

2.2 “Physical Distancing” means keeping a safe space of at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.

3. Community Requirements and Expectations

3.1 Protect the Pack Community Standards.

Every member of the Wolfpack has a vital role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our campus community safe. All members of the university community are expected to follow the Community Standards.

3.2 Face Coverings.

3.2.1.  NC State will provide Face Coverings to all students, faculty and staff who need them. Individuals can also choose to wear their own Face Coverings. Visitors to campus are required to bring their own Face Coverings.

3.2.2 When Face Coverings Must Be Worn.

The University encourages all members of the community to recognize the demonstrated public health benefits of wearing Face Coverings and practicing Physical Distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear Face Coverings on campus and on all property controlled or managed by NC State or  leased by NC State for the university’s use, and in all university programs, including when in university buildings, classrooms, indoors or outdoors, unless an exception below applies. This includes, but is not limited to the following instances:

(a) in all NC State buildings and facilities, including classrooms and laboratories;

(b) in all university programs and activities, wherever located;

(c) in outdoor spaces on university-owned or university-leased property, including  areas such as the Brickyard, Stafford Commons, the Court of Carolina, the Oval and other outdoor gathering spaces; and

(d) when using the Wolfline bus system or other forms of public transportation serving the campus.

All students, faculty, and staff must follow state and local directives for wearing Face Coverings when off campus.  Under the current Executive Order, face coverings must be worn indoors at all times when non-household members are also present in that space.

3.2.3 When Face Coverings Are Not Required.

Individuals are not required to wear a Face Covering in the following instances:

(a) in enclosed, private offices and/or residence hall/apartment rooms when alone;

(b) in accordance with limited exceptions as designated by certain facility-specific requirements regarding Face Coverings;

(c) while actively eating or drinking while maintaining Physical Distancing; and

(d) in other limited exceptions when approved by university officials in consultation with health and safety experts, or required by law.

3.2.4 Reasonable Modifications.

Individuals not able to wear a Face Covering because of a documented disability, medical condition or sincerely held religious belief may make a request for a reasonable modification.

(a) Students with a documented disability or medical condition should follow the procedure to request accommodations established by the Disability Resource Office. Students with a sincerely held religious belief should follow the procedure to request accommodations established by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.

(b) Faculty, staff or visitors requesting an accommodation based on a disability, medical condition or sincerely held religious belief should follow the procedure to request accommodations established by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.

3.2.5 Job-Specific Functions.

Face Coverings are not a substitute for required personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, respirators and other self-contained breathing apparatus. Certain locations and activities on campus warrant specific PPE to reduce exposure to other environmental concerns and should be worn in lieu of a Face Covering. (POL 04.20.07)

3.3 Mass Gatherings.

All students and student organizations must comply with NC State’s limitations and protocols for gatherings on campus.  For off-campus gatherings, all students and student organizations must comply with the gathering limitations set by the governor’s Executive Orders, as well as any other applicable laws, ordinances, or public health guidance.

3.4 Other NC State Policies, Rules and Guidelines.

Students, staff and faculty must follow and comply with all health and safety guidelines and other requirements that are provided or implemented by NC State in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Guidance for Higher Education.

4. Compliance and Enforcement

4.1 COVID-19 Policies.

Failure to follow this rule, the Community Standards or any other university policy, rule or guideline relating to the COVID-19 pandemic will be considered a violation of university policies subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action.

4.2 Face Coverings.

4.2.1 Students, faculty, staff and visitors who refuse to wear a Face Covering will be required to leave the university event, program, facility and/or off-campus property, and may be subject to applicable disciplinary and/or administrative action.

4.2.2 For students, compliance with this rule is a condition of continued in-person enrollment. Students who violate this rule may be subject to administrative action and/or disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct, which could result in a range of sanctions from probation, removal from University Housing, and up to and including suspension. If a student refuses to wear a Face Covering in a classroom or laboratory setting, the student will be required to leave the class or lab setting. In such a circumstance, the absence may be treated as an unexcused absence.

4.2.3 NC State faculty and staff who violate this rule are subject to disciplinary and/or administrative action in accordance with established personnel policies.

4.2.4 Visitors who violate this rule may be asked to leave university-owned or university-leased property.

4.3 Mass Gatherings.

Mass gathering violations that occur on and off campus are subject to this rule and may lead to disciplinary and/or administrative action.  In addition, gatherings in violation of state or local municipality’s mass gathering limitations may also lead to citations or criminal penalties by local law enforcement and/or public health authorities.