College of Nursing COVID-19 News Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major concern locally, across the country and around the globe. The emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants has brought into clear focus the continued risks associated with COVID-19 infection, particularly among people who are unimmunized. The American Academy of Nursing, American Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing,  the American Hospital Association (AHA), and the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) all signaled strong support for health care organizations to require the COVID-19 vaccine for employees in clinical environments as a safety measure to mitigate COVID-19 spread in these high-risk health care environments. ECU’s Return of Pirate Nation emphasizes the importance of vaccinations.

Several hospitals and health systems in North Carolina and many across the nation, have announced requirements for vaccinations of their team members, as well as students and faculty.  Agencies may accept health or religious exemption requests, but only at their discretion. The ECU College of Nursing Compliance Office staff (Ms. Amy Bradshaw and/or Ms. Doris Leach) will communicate with agencies that require documentation of vaccination; therefore, it is imperative that documentation or declination/waiver forms be submitted as requested.  Exemption requests may also need to be completed. Falsification of information is grounds for disciplinary action.

Unvaccinated students may have difficulty being placed in a clinical agency and may not be able to obtain the clinical hours required to meet course objectives.  This could lead to students being delayed in their progression and/or graduation in your program of study. Due to the complexity of clinical assignments and approval through the compliance office and agencies, student clinical assignments may not be changed and should an agency in which you are currently assigned implement a requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine after the beginning of the semester, the College of Nursing will not be able to change your clinical site for that semester.    If a student’s exemption request is approved by an agency, the student must adhere to agency policies for always wearing appropriate PPE while in the agency. Most often this will be wearing a mask and/or face shield or goggles while in the agency. Students are responsible for providing their own face mask, face shield and goggles.

As we continue to plan to remain together on campus, the safety of our students, faculty, staff, visitors and patients remains our primary concern. Face coverings will again be required in all indoor spaces on campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, unless:

  • You are alone in a private, enclosed residence hall room, apartment or office with the door closed.
  • You are in an enclosed indoor space where only household members are present; for example, residence hall roommates.
  • You are actively eating or drinking.

Face coverings are not required in outdoor spaces for vaccinated individuals, but masks are encouraged, especially in large crowds. Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated should continue wearing a face covering outdoors.

Face coverings will continue to be required on ECU Transit buses.

Vaccinated faculty may remove their masks while teaching as long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained.

Stay safe and stay healthy!  Wear a mask!  Social distance when possible! Get vaccinated! Get boosted!  We’ll all get through this together!