Working on Campus

For the fall 2021 semester, NC State has returned to modes of staffing and course delivery that are substantially similar to pre-pandemic operations.

COVID-19 Testing

To help ensure a safe and healthy fall semester, beginning Monday, Aug. 16, all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus (or at any location owned or operated by NC State across the state) for any reason must provide proof of vaccination, or they will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing on campus.  

Testing on campus is free for all faculty, staff and students. The process itself can be completed in five minutes or less.

Find details about testing protocols

Keeping Facilities Safe

To accommodate an increased in-person presence in the workplace and facilitate a normal fall semester, the NC State Facilities Division and Environmental Health and Safety have developed an indoor air quality plan that incorporates emerging practices and will help ensure a safe environment for students, faculty and staff. 

The following steps are part of the university’s overall approach, and they outline additional measures that NC State is taking related to indoor air quality: 

Step 1: Evaluation

Campus has many types of HVAC systems that were designed and installed during different periods and under different building codes, resulting in some systems that are inherently more effective at providing optimum indoor air quality. The Facilities Division and Environmental Health and Safety evaluated university HVAC systems and developed action items to ensure good indoor air quality.  

Step 2: Mitigation

Maintaining good indoor air quality is a multifaceted approach. Many actions taken together create a safer and healthier indoor environment, and the university has implemented measures as recommended by public health and industry experts. Actions taken on campus include:

  • Systems check for proper operation: All HVAC systems in university buildings are part of regular maintenance programs and have been reviewed recently to confirm that outside air dampers are operational, fans are functional, filters are sealed and ventilation is maximized.
  • More outside air: Most modern HVAC systems bring in air from outside to provide ventilation and maintain healthy air quality. The more outside air is brought in, the lower the concentration of any potential harmful contaminants. In some facilities, NC State is able to conserve energy by adjusting the amount of outside air to match occupancy levels. In the current operating environment, the Facilities Division has reprogrammed these HVAC systems to maintain the design amount of outside air at all times. These efforts will result in a better rate of outside air ventilation per person to improve ventilation (dilution) and indoor air quality. As outside air temperatures decrease over the course of the fall semester, some systems with air side economizers will further increase the amount of outside air, thus improving ventilation (dilution). 
  • Extended hours: Operating schedules of HVAC systems have been extended by two hours before and after the normal building occupancy schedule.  Typically, systems will save energy by closing or reducing outside air and/or turning off fans during unoccupied periods. In the current operating environment, campus HVAC systems will operate for a longer period of time during the day, providing additional building air filtration and outside air for ventilation (dilution). 
  • Recirculating air filtration: The higher an air filter’s minimum efficiency reporting values (MERV) rating is, the better the filter is at trapping smaller particles. For units that recirculate air, NC State has installed MERV 13 (or higher) filters where possible. These filters are somewhat more effective at capturing smaller airborne particles. Increased filter efficiency generally results in increased pressure drop through the filter, which can lead to a reduction in airflow; hence, HVAC systems were evaluated to ensure filter upgrades can be made without negative impacts to airflow rates.  
  • A step further: In the few campus buildings with older HVAC systems, some classroom activities were moved to alternate facilities, and/or additional equipment was installed, such as portable HEPA filtration units.  

Step 3: Continuous Improvement

An indoor air work group including the Facilities Division and Environmental Health and Safety will continue reviewing ongoing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health experts and professional society and trade organizations. 

If you have any questions, please contact Ken Kretchman (director of Environmental Health and Safety) at kwkretch@ncsu.edu or Allen Boyette (energy systems senior director in the Facilities Division) at raboyett@ncsu.edu.

Community Expectations

To help protect the Pack, NC State has created COVID-19 community standards. All employees have a responsibility to know and follow all university policies and guidelines, including the COVID-19 community standards.

Read the full community standards

Special Circumstance Review

The policies and practices put in place around COVID-19 are designed to help protect all members of the Pack. Our special circumstance review process can help with any needed adjustments to work schedules or employment related to disability accommodations and safety. Complete the form below to request a review.

View the form

This information is subject to change. Last updated: Aug. 13, 2021.