Clinical Partner COVID Vaccine Mandate

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on January 10, 2022

1. Unvaccinated students who live remote from Chapel Hill and who will be coming to campus for any reason will be required to:

Obtain a COVID test at a location near their residence 72–48 hours prior to arrival to class on campus;

Bring their test result with them in case of an audit and keep all results for the semester;

Get tested for COVID while on campus. You can make an appointment through the Carolina Together website.

2. I completed the initial COVID vaccine series. Am I required to get a booster?

Students are strongly encouraged to get a booster dose of the COVID vaccine if they had their final dose more than six months ago. While not all clinical partner agencies mandate a booster in addition to the initial vaccines, it is advised to receive one to strengthen immunity as soon as you are eligible. Students will be asked to upload documentation of their booster dose into their CastleBranch trackers for compliance with clinical partner agencies. 

3. The clinical agency to which I have been placed for my Spring 2022 clinical rotation does not require the vaccine. Must I get the COVID vaccine now? 

Students must meet all agency compliance requirements. If the site does not yet require the vaccine, you are not required by the SON to obtain the COVID vaccine. However, if the agency changes their requirements to mandate the COVID vaccine, students must comply. The SON will not attempt to find a new clinical placement for any student due to COVID vaccine requirements. 

4. My Spring 2022 clinical rotation is a remote/off-site assignment. Do I still need to be vaccinated? 

Clinical site partners have the discretion to waive COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students who are participating remotely in their rotations, but such students are not guaranteed an exemption. The process for requesting an exemption is facilitated through the Clinical Support Division. The SON will not attempt to find a new clinical placement for any student due to COVID vaccine requirements. 

5. I am conducting research in the SON BBL. Am I required to be vaccinated against the COVID virus? 

Yes, all students, faculty and staff who do any work or research in the BBL must receive the COVID vaccine. Anyone engaging in clinical research within the BBL must meet all UNC Medical Center compliance requirements – and now that UNC MC is requiring the COVID vaccine, anyone who is involved in BBL work must be vaccinated. We cannot require research participants to be vaccinated, but they must wear a mask while in the SON building or any building on campus.  

6. Who sets the vaccination requirements pertaining to COVID-19?

Each clinical partner agency sets its own requirements for employees and affiliated learners (i.e., nursing students). At this time, all major hospital entities and some community health clinics and private practices with whom the School of Nursing has a Clinical Affiliation Agreement have mandated such individuals obtain a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine.

7. Why must the School of Nursing students comply with clinical partner mandates?

The Clinical Affiliation Agreements between the School of Nursing and our partner agencies determine the relationships between the School of Nursing and the entities and detail the terms under which each site will provide on-site educational experiences. These agreements account for regulatory requirements, accreditation expectations, and other guidelines, and the sites have been approved as meeting specific educational and clinical regulations. These agreements include provisions requiring students to adhere to agency policies relevant to their clinical experiences.

8. Who set the dates for completing the vaccinations and waiting period?

Each clinical partner has set its own deadline for requiring individuals to complete the vaccination(s). Some agencies may also require a two-week waiting period after the second dose as part of their timeline.

9. What is the deadline for receiving the full course of a COVID-19 vaccination?

All undergraduate students (ABSN/BSN) matriculating in Summer or Fall 2022 will be placed at clinical partner agencies that mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. The deadline to upload documentation will coincide with the deadline for completing other matriculation requirements in CastleBranch. 

Graduate students are highly encouraged to get a full course of the vaccine and should also upload their documentation to their CastleBranch accounts upon matriculation. 

If your placement site requires vaccination, you must have completed your vaccinations by the deadline set by your placement site. 

Absent an exemption from the placement site’s requirement, failure to meet your placement site’s deadline may cause a delay in the start of your clinical rotation and thus may hinder your ability to complete the course this fall. Students seeking approved medical or religious exemptions must submit a request to their placement site.

10. Do any current placement sites not require the COVID vaccine?

Every major clinical agency and hospital with whom the School of Nursing has a contract and in which we have placed students for clinical rotations has mandated the vaccine for employees and learners. For information regarding specific practice sites, contact the Clinical Support Division. 

11. I have an allergic reaction to vaccines and can’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. What should I do?

a. Each placement entity has created an exemption process and students may request an exemption. However, if the agency denies the exemption, the student should explore other options available based on their program and circumstances, such as receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, locating another placement site (if a graduate student), or considering a leave of absence. Graduate students who wish to seek an alternative placement may contact their Lead Faculty; however, alternative placement sites are limited and not guaranteed.

b. There may be alternative vaccines or precautions students can take that will meet the student’s placement site requirements. Please discuss this with your primary care provider.

12. I want to request a medical exemption from the SON about getting this vaccine.

The SON does not determine exemptions. Each clinical partner will determine its own process for accepting requests for exemptions. The SON can provide you with contact information for this process. The length of time the entity takes to make a determination about your request should be taken into account, as it may cause a delay in the start of your clinical rotation. Note that there is not a guarantee that a request for exemption will be granted.

13. My religion prohibits me from getting the COVID vaccine.

Each clinical partner will determine its own process for accepting requests for exemptions. The SON can provide you with contact information for this process. The length of time the entity takes to make a determination about your request should be taken into account, as it may cause a delay in the start of your clinical rotation. Note that a request for exemption is not a guarantee that it will be granted.

14. I am not in a clinical rotation, but I must access a clinical or community agency for my research or other required program assignments. Must I get the COVID vaccine?

Any student entering any agency for any reason must meet all compliance requirements of that agency, including receipt of the COVID vaccine, if that is a requirement.

15. I am not currently in a clinical experience. Do I still need to get the vaccine now?

In order to engage at a clinical placement site, you must meet that site’s requirements related to vaccination. Students are responsible for learning about and adhering to their placement site’s requirements.While not a University requirement, students are encouraged to receive the vaccine or seek an exemption from the placement site, if available, as early as possible to avoid potential delays in placement.