COVID-19 Testing Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Answers for Questions 1 - 14 come directly from the NC Governor’s “Requirements for COVID-19 Testing and Face Coverings as an Alternative to Proof of Full Vaccination” Policy, created August 13, 2021.

1. Why is Wake Tech requiring its employees to be tested?

The Governor’s Testing Policy asserts that local government agencies (like Wake Tech) are strongly encouraged by the Governor to voluntarily adopt this Policy in whole or with any modifications to assist in the protection of the health and safety of state employees and the general public.

2. When will required testing begin?

Testing will begin two weeks after the ReturnSafe web interface or mobile software application is operational and directions for its use have been provided to employees. The anticipated start date is Monday, October 4.


3. How will I provide proof of vaccination or the results of my COVID tests?

Employees will upload proof of vaccination or their weekly negative COVID test results to the ReturnSafe website or mobile app, which will be monitored by Human Resources. More information about ReturnSafe, along with detailed instructions, will be forthcoming.


4. Does proof of vaccination provide an exemption to the testing requirement?

Yes, all employees must either (a) provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or (b) be tested at least once a week for COVID-19, with the last test result negative for COVID-19 infection.


5. What must I submit to show that I am fully vaccinated?

  1. An original or copy of a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card issued on the form provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), or
     
  2. a note or receipt signed by a licensed nurse, physician pharmacist, physician’s assistant, or another representative of the place where the vaccine was administered. This note or receipt must show at least:
    1. The Worker’s name
    2. The name of the healthcare provider administering the vaccine
    3. Date(s) of vaccination
    4. Place of vaccination
    5. Vaccine product name (i.e., Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson)

6. If I choose to be tested rather than becoming fully vaccinated, what must I do?

 Using ReturnSafe, employees who choose to test must provide a negative result from a COVID-19 test, and this COVID-19 test must have been taken in the last seven days.


7. May I come to work while I’m waiting on my test results?

An employee can come on-premises even if the employee is still waiting on the test results for a test conducted in the last week, so long as the employee is asymptomatic for COVID-19. In this situation, the employee will need to provide proof of being tested, such as a receipt from the test provider.


8. When should I stay home?

  1. Employees who are symptomatic for COVID-19 must not come to work on campus, whether or not they are fully vaccinated, unless the symptoms are explained by another known case (such as diagnosed seasonal allergies) or they receive a negative COVID-19 test.
  2. An employee also must stay home if he or she is instructed by a treating health care provider or contact tracer to quarantine after having close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  3. If the employees’ last test result was positive for COVID-19, the employee cannot come on campus until the end of the number of days of isolation set out in current CDC and NCDHHS recommendation.
  4. The College’s contact tracers will provide specific instructions in individual cases.

9. Where can I get tested?

The State Health Plan currently waives the cost of COVID-19 testing from in-network providers. The following link provides locations: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/find-my-testing-place/no-cost-community-testing-events. Go to the “Test Site Finder” and enter your zip code.


10. What types of tests meet the testing requirements?

Accepted diagnostic testing includes an antigen or molecular test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or RT-PCR) authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Results must come from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified setting appropriate for the test type (i.e., high, moderate, or waived laboratory), which means that at-home tests are not authorized. The test result should include name, date of birth, date of specimen collection, date of result, and diagnostic test result.


11. May I be tested while on the clock?

Non-exempt employees (who complete a timesheet) can list as “time worked” any time getting tested to perform the weekly tests required under this Policy. This includes time spent waiting before or after the test. Supervisors should be consulted when scheduling time away from campus for testing.


12. What will the College do with my vaccination or testing documentation?

  1. Authorized Human Resources staff must review the material in good faith to determine whether it appears to be valid with the support of the ReturnSafe app.
     
  2. The HR staff member is authorized to require additional verification if the staff member has a reasonable basis to suspect that the information provided is inauthentic or fraudulent.
     
  3. Employees violate this Policy if they knowingly provide a false or inauthentic document. This includes any kind of document provided under this Policy, including but not limited to proof of vaccination, COVID-19 test results, or any information related to requests for exemption.
     
  4. Records will only be stored in an agency confidential health information file that is maintained in accordance with any applicable State Records Center retention schedule, separate from general personnel files.
     
  5. Employees will only be asked to transmit records through a system that is encrypted or otherwise secured with limited access, such as ReturnSafe.

13. What information will be provided to my manager or supervisor?

So that they may implement the Policy, HR staff members may communicate to managers and supervisors:

  1. Whether and when employees are available to work on-site.
     
  2. Whether employees are exempt from the weekly COVID-19 testing requirement.

If asked, managers and supervisors may tell other employees that a particular employee is exempt from any part of this Policy. They should not say what the reason is for the employee being exempt.


14. What will happen if I refuse to comply with this Policy?

Employees may be subject to disciplinary action for violations of this Policy, up to and including dismissal.


15. May I request an accommodation or other exemption from this policy?

  1. Employees may seek reasonable accommodations from relevant requirements of this Policy on the basis of disabilities, because they are not recommended by a physician licensed in North Carolina to be vaccinated or wear a Face Covering, because they have a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, or for any other lawful reason.
     
  2. The testing option may serve as a reasonable accommodation for employees seeking an accommodation from the proof of vaccination option.
     
  3. Employees may request an exception by contacting their agency's Human Resources office. These requests shall be considered under the agency’s standard reasonable accommodation process.
     
  4. Employees may be asked to submit documentation to substantiate their request for accommodation.

16. Can antibody test results be used instead of proof of vaccination or weekly COVID testing?

I’ve had COVID and fully recovered, and now have natural antibodies. Can antibody test results be used instead of proof of vaccination or weekly COVID testing?

No. In accordance with state and federal guidance, the most effective way to guard against COVID-19 is the vaccine. Antibody tests cannot be used as a substitute for weekly COVID testing.


17. What should I do if I test positive even though I have no symptoms?

Anyone who tests positive for COVID, either with or without symptoms, should stay home, contact their supervisor or instructor, seek medical care if needed, and email [email protected].


18. May I work from home while quarantining due to direct exposure to a positive case?

Yes, if your supervisor agrees that your job functions may be performed from home and you feel well enough to work.


19. I have COVID, and I’m too sick to work from home. Do I have to use my sick leave?

You may use up to 80 hours of the special administrative leave that went into effect on Aug. 1. Contact HR at [email protected] for more information.


21. If I am fully vaccinated, do I still have to wear a mask?

Yes. Everyone on campus must wear a mask indoors unless they have received an approved accommodation from Human Resources or Disability Support Services.


22. What if a student enters my class or office without a mask claiming a medical exemption?

Students and employees will carry a card from HR or DSS if they have an approved accommodation. If they do not, ask them to head over to Disability Support Services to learn about the Mask Policy Accommodation Request process. If they refuse, you can ask them to get a mask from the Cashiers Office, Library, or one of the Welcome Desks. If the student still refuses, please contact Campus Police for assistance.