Coronavirus Updates


Please Note: COVID-19 protocols will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Please check this website frequently for the most up-to-date information. Updated: August 21, 2023.

LR is now operating in a COVID-19 management environment. We will continue to monitor for COVID-19, review federal, state and county public health guidelines and provide you with updates and information throughout the academic year.

The best protection against COVID-19 is to be updated on your vaccines and to wear a mask indoors around others when in larger groups. In addition, LR highly recommends you get the COVID-19 booster when eligible and the flu shot.

  • Vaccine Guidance for Students

    COVID-19 vaccines, including all booster shots, are strongly recommended for students, faculty and staff, but are not required. *See note below about specific program requirements

    Being up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including having all recommended booster shots, determines quarantine guidelines and can reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. 

    The new bivalent vaccine contains the original formulation and carries a recipe against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, the most contagious versions of the virus. The CDC indicates the BA.5 variant accounts for 90 percent of cases in the US.

    The new vaccine booster is available locally at pharmacies, as well as at various health departments including Catawba County (Hickory), Buncombe County (Asheville) and Richland County (Columbia). Faculty, staff and students who have completed two shots of the vaccine are eligible to receive the new booster 60 days after their last vaccine.

    If you have been infected by COVID, the CDC recommends you wait 90 days to take the booster to maximize your immune system. Those who have not had the COVID vaccine will need to get the initial shots before the new booster.

    *Please note that students in the School of Nursing (RIBN, RN-BSN, BSN, MSN, DNP) are required to be vaccinated to meet the requirements of clinical sites. 

    *Please note that students in some programs, including community health, exercise science, Master of Public Health, dietetic internship, and occupational therapy may be required by their clinical sites to be vaccinated and boosted. If the student is unable to attend experiential learning at a pre-arranged site, there may be a delay in completing the experience, which will delay progress to graduation. Additionally, some study abroad programs may require students to be vaccinated and boosted.

     

  • Vaccine Guidance for Faculty & Staff

    As announced on May 26, 2023, Lenoir-Rhyne no longer requires the COVID-19 vaccine for faculty and staff. This decision was made after careful consideration of the latest public health guidance and in consultation with our medical experts.

    While LR no longer requires the vaccine, we strongly encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated and stay current with boosters. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization, and it is an important tool in ending the pandemic. 

    Booster Available

    The new bivalent vaccine contains the original formulation and carries a recipe against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, the most contagious versions of the virus. The CDC indicates the BA.5 variant accounts for 90 percent of cases in the U.S.

    The new vaccine booster is available locally at pharmacies, as well as at various health departments including Catawba County (Hickory), Buncombe County (Asheville) and Richland County (Columbia). Faculty, staff and students who have completed two shots of the vaccine are eligible to receive the new booster 60 days after their last vaccine.

    If you have been infected by COVID, the CDC recommends you wait 90 days to take the booster to maximize your immune system. Those who have not had the COVID vaccine will need to get the initial shots before the new booster.

  • Masks Optional

    Masks remain optional with the following exceptions:

    • Individuals are required to wear a mask indoors for the specified number of days when exposed to COVID-19, are symptomatic, or test positive.
    • Individual instructors may require masks in their classrooms as part of their standard classroom management and students will adhere to the classroom requirement.
    • Those visiting Cornerstone Health Services may be required to wear masks when entering the facility.

    While masks are not required except as noted above, anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask on campus is encouraged to do so, as it is the best method for prevention in addition to vaccines.

    Students, faculty and staff are expected to provide their own masks for use in those situations where they are required.

  • COVID-19 Testing

    Rapid tests are available on all three campuses, including at Cornerstone in Hickory.

    Rapid tests and PCR tests are also available at local pharmacies and grocery stores in your area. Also check with your county and state public health department for testing dates, times and locations.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    COVID-19 Testing Locator

    North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
    Home COVID-19 Testing Information

    Hickory Campus (Catawba, Burke and Caldwell Counties)

    Asheville Campus (Buncombe County )

    Columbia Campus (Richland County)

  • Reporting COVID-19 Positive Tests

    If you test positive for COVID-19, you must report that to the appropriate person.

  • Tracing & Alerts

    Anyone who is exposed or tests positive for COVID-19 should continue to report their case to the appropriate person.

    This information will allow us to continue to monitor trends on campus and perform contact tracing, if necessary.

    Residential students who test positive are required to return home for their required isolation. We may be able to provide some temporary housing for those students who test positive, but live further distances away from campus.

    We also will provide quarantine rooms on a limited basis for those residential students who are exposed to the virus, but who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC defines “up to date” as having all vaccines and boosters for which a person is eligible. For example, someone who is unvaccinated or fully vaccinated, but not boosted would have to quarantine for five days and be tested if exposed to the virus.

    Thank you for your support and adherence to our policies. We are looking forward to a successful fall semester.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • FAQ - COVID-19 Protocols
    Why did LR switch from required to strongly recommended for students, faculty and staff?

    We consult with local, regional and state public health officials, including the Catawba County Health Department and the N.C. State Department for Health and Human Services, and reviewed the updated Centers for Disease Control guidelines. They all support a switch from required to strongly recommend the vaccine. The national public health emergency around COVID-19 also officially ended in the United States on May 11, 2023. 

    What if the COVID landscape changes significantly? Will you require the vaccine, testing or masks?

    We will continue to monitor COVID-19 on campus and nationally to determine if changes are required. As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, we will make data-based decisions using feedback from local, state and regional public health departments and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.

    What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

    Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must adhere to the following:

    • Isolate at home for a minimum of 5 days and wear your mask if around anyone at home.
    • You may end your isolation after 5 days if you have no symptoms, or your symptoms have resolved and you are without fever.
    • Continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors when around others for 5 additional days.
    • Your health care provider must approve your return to classes and activities. You may also be approved to return if seen by Cornerstone Health on campus or by telehealth. A written release must be provided to: 
      Students on all three campuses: Harry Titus at harry.titus@bracbort.com
      Faculty: Judy Lineberger at judy.lineberger@bracbort.com
      Staff: Revonda Reed at revonda.reed@bracbort.com

    Residential students who test positive will be required to return home for their isolation period. We may be able to provide some temporary housing for those students who test positive, but live further distances away from campus. We also will provide quarantine rooms on a limited basis for those residential students who are exposed to the virus, but who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. 

    What happens if I have been exposed to COVID-19?

    Anyone who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must adhere to the following, depending on your vaccine status:

    • No quarantine if fully boosted or fully vaccinated and are not yet eligible for the booster vaccine. You simply wear a mask for 10 days and rapid test on day 5. If you develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test and remain at home until you know the results.
    • If unvaccinated or not fully “up to date,” you are required to quarantine at home for 5 days and wear a mask for an additional 5 days. You may exit quarantine when testing negative on day 5 and continue to be without symptoms. If you test positive, then you follow the isolation protocols above.
    • However, in a case where one is living every day (not just a brief encounter) in the same residence with family members/roommates and one or more are/become infected with COVID-19, we need to take additional precautions. People who are exposed in this situation should wear a mask and test daily for five days. They should work with their supervisor to determine any additional steps to take based on their specific circumstances.

    Note: The CDC defines “up to date” as having all vaccines and boosters for which a person is eligible. 

    Do I need to tell anyone if I test positive or have been exposed to COVID?

    Yes. To help us monitor COVID on campus, please report a positive test or exposure to the following:

    What if I am arriving to campus from overseas or other mass transit travel?

    Given the reduced restriction on mass transit travel from the CDC, students using mass transit will follow the same protocols for return to campus.

    It is highly recommend you wear an appropriate mask during your travel using mass transit, even though not always required.