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N.C. State: Unvaccinated Athletes, Staff Can't Travel

Paul Steinbach

North Carolina State University away-game entourages will be limited to student-athletes and staff who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have an exception from the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh, citing a report by The Technician student newspaper.

In a message to the News & Obser confirming the policy, senior associate AD for communications Fred Demarest stated, “For our fall sports we are limiting travel to those who are vaccinated or those with an exception from OIED.”

To qualify for an exception from OIED there is a formal application process on the OIED site. Some of the categories ask for medical or religious exception, according to Demarest.

The Wolfpack football team, with the biggest traveling party for all teams at more than 100 people, heads to Starkville, Miss., on Sept. 11 for a game with Mississippi State.

N.C. State has not released any information about the percentage of players and staff who are vaccinated, but football coach Dave Doeren said the team was “in a very good place” when it comes to vaccination rates. Most conferences are targeting vaccination rates of 85 percent or higher for their teammates and staff.

Across the UNC system, masks will be required for everyone entering all indoor spaces on campus. Face coverings won’t be required outdoors.

N.C. State opens the football season Thursday, hosting South Florida. Last year, the Wolfpack had to postpone its original season opener, which was scheduled to be at Virginia Tech, due to COVID protocols, the News & Observer reported.

There will be no such rescheduling this season. As reported by USA Today, the Atlantic Coast Conference teams that have to forfeit games will be given a loss in the standings, and the team that didn't have a COVID issue will be awarded a win. If both teams can't play they will have to forfeit and are credited with a loss in the conference standings. The conference also said that fully vaccinated people no longer have to participate in a surveillance testing regime.

ACC member Boston College is requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test for fans to attend home football games. Staff and students are required to get vaccinated.

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