Health FAQ

VACCINES

What is the CDC’s vaccination schedule?

The current recommended childhood immunization (vaccination) schedule that SUUSI will use can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html

What counts as a medical contraindication?

The current list of medically valid contraindications for each vaccine that SUUSI will use can be found on the CDC’s website at:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/contraindications.html

How do I know if I’m up to date with MMR and Tdap?

The current recommended adult immunization (vaccination) schedule that SUUSI will use can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html

What vaccinations do I need to show proof of to attend SUUSI in person?

If you are over 18 years old and not volunteering with children at SUUSI this year, you only need to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19. If you are under 18, you need to show proof of all CDC recommended childhood and adolescent vaccinations with the exception of flu and HPV. (https://www.cdc.gov/.../sch.../hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html) If you are over 18 and working with children at SUUSI this year, you need to show proof of MMR and Tdap vaccinations. If you were born before 1957, you only need to show proof of Tdap as you are presumed to have been exposed to MMR as a child.

I am working with children at SUUSI and it has been a long time since I got my childhood vaccinations! How do I get proof of Tdap and MMR?

Tdap is recommended every 10 years, so if you haven't gotten a Tdap booster in the last decade you need to get one! If you have gotten a Tdap booster in the last 10 years, you should be able to get a record of it from your local health department and/or primary care physician.

For MMR, if you were born after 1957 and do not have access to your childhood vaccination records, you can either get a titer to test for MMR antibodies and show proof that way, or you can get an MMR booster.

Do you accept religious exemptions for SUUSI's vaccination requirements?

No, SUUSI does not accept religious exemptions for vaccination requirements. Medical exemptions for those with contraindications for specific vaccinations will be accepted.

How and when do I send in my vaccination verification?

Please send all vaccination records to vaccination@suusi.org as soon as possible. A photo of your Covid-19 vaccination card works great (as long as it is readable)! Childhood vaccination records can be acquired by request from your child’s pediatrician and should also be sent to vaccination@suusi.org. 

MASKS

Will I need to wear a mask at SUUSI?

Masks will be required for all participants 6 years old and older in the following indoor locations:

  • Registration
  • Bardo (audience only):
  • Evening Worship, Cabaret, Concert Hour, TWOB
  • Coulter (audience only): Morning Worship 
  • Nature vans
  • The Artisans’ Bazaar
  • Indoor Youth and Middler Programming
  • The dining hall when not seated to eat

A section of the dorm(s) will be set aside as a mask-required indoor location in the hallways and other public areas. Masks are strongly recommended in any indoor areas not expressly mentioned above.

Will masks be required for teen programming?

Teens are strongly recommended to wear masks in public spaces within Teen Dorm. When gathering in individual dorm rooms with other teens that are not residents of that room, consent needs to be given by all present to be unmasked. Teens will need to be masked in the areas listed as required above.

I am under the age of 14. Are there any special mask rules that apply? 

Children under the age of 2 should not wear a mask. Masks are recommended but not required for children between the ages of 2 and 5. Ages 6-13 will need to mask indoors during programming, as well as the other areas listed as required above. 

What kind of masks can I wear at SUUSI?

N95, KN95, or KF94 masks are strongly recommended, although well fitting surgical masks will also be permitted. SUUSI will not allow the use of cloth masks (unless worn on top of/in addition to one of the mask types listed above) as research has shown they are not very effective at stopping transmission of the current dominant Covid-19 strains. Extra masks provided by SUUSI will be available. 

Will masks be required in public spaces of the dorms such as hallways and elevators?

Masks in elevators are strongly recommended at SUUSI as well as any public spaces in a dorm. However, a group of people sitting in a dorm hallway may come to consensus about removing masks in the hallway. If you have a strong preference or a requirement to be housed in a masks-required hall, please contact housing@suusi.org before registration closes on June 20, 2022. Note: requesting the masks-required hall will supersede any previous housing requests. The masks-required hall will be a combination of individuals from every age group and the full SUUSI community. Anyone can request to be housed in this area and only those who request it before June 20th will be housed in this area.

Will masks be required at Serendipity and CACHE?

Serendipity and CACHE will be held in areas with high air turnover such as air filtration and fans with doors and windows open. Masks will not be required.

Will masks be required in my indoor workshop?

The workshop leader has the final say about whether masks are required or optional. You may be contacted via email by your workshop leader(s) prior to SUUSI to communicate with you about this.

Will masks be required in the SUUSI Store and Artisans’ Bazaar?

Masks will be strongly recommended in the SUUSI Store. Please note that performers will not wear masks while singing in the SUUSI Store. SUUSI Store will offer some windows of time when masks are required and no one is performing (masks required daily from 11-12 and 3-4). The Artisans’ Bazaar will require masks at all times.

Why are we being asked to mask in the cafeteria line?

We are providing a number of options for SUUSI participants to eat meals without needing to eat unmasked in the dining hall, but those options still require participants to stand in line to get their food. High risk participants need to eat, and cannot avoid this line. In order to allow for those participants who need to minimize their exposure to unmasked people to feel safer when in the dining hall, we are requiring masks when not seated to eat.

Will WCU staff be required to be masked indoors? What about summer school students and others on campus?

SUUSI is not able to set masking requirements for WCU staff. As of right now, WCU is not requiring their staff to wear masks. Other groups on campus may or may not require masks for their group members. Please do not confront WCU staff or members of other campus groups about their mask wearing or lack thereof.

Why is wearing a mask important?

Masking, particularly with high quality respirator masks like N95, KN95, or KF94, has been shown in numerous studies to have a significant effect on reducing disease transmission within communities. Many members of our SUUSI community have risk factors that make catching Covid-19 particularly dangerous, and we want those community members to be as protected as possible. SUUSI is for everyone, not just those of us who are healthy and low risk for complications from Covid-19. SUUSI is an intentional, covenantal community, and we are all mutually responsible for the health and safety of our community. Wearing a mask when indoors in order to better protect each other is just one example of how we can put our values into action this year. 

What is the point of requiring masks only some of the time? 

While we know some people are comfortable in indoor spaces without masks at this time, some people are not. Our goal was to create masking procedures that ensure all parts of the SUUSI experience are accessible to everyone. The more time we wear masks, the less opportunities there will be for disease transmission. We are prioritizing mask wearing in high-density areas and areas that are unavoidable for most SUUSI participants. If you are not comfortable in unmasked indoor spaces, you will still be able to participate in everything that makes SUUSI great! For those who are comfortable in unmasked indoor spaces, you will have opportunities to take your masks off in situations that those with higher risks are easily able to avoid.

What do I do if someone is not wearing a mask?

If a SUUSI participant is not wearing a mask in a mask-required area, you may kindly and gently remind them that masks are required. If they do not either put on a mask or leave the area, please reach out to a SUUSI staff member or contact the SUUSI help line, 1-888-SUUSI-22. If a SUUSI participant is not wearing a mask in an area where masks are strongly recommended but not required, please do not confront them or comment on it. In addition, if a WCU staff person or member of another camp or group on campus is not wearing a mask, please do not confront them or comment on it. SUUSI does not have the authority to require WCU staff or other groups on campus to wear masks. 

COVID TESTING

Do I need to take a Covid test before coming to SUUSI?

In order to best protect our community and to decrease the chances of false negative results, SUUSI is requiring two rapid tests: one 24-48 before arriving at SUUSI, and one upon arrival. SUUSI will provide the second rapid test; participants are asked to provide their own rapid tests before traveling to SUUSI. After taking the second test upon arrival, SUUSI participants will be asked to affirm their negative results on both tests. Participants who would prefer to take a PCR test instead of or in addition to the first rapid test are welcome to do so. PCR tests must be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to arriving at SUUSI.

What happens if I test positive for Covid-19?

Any participants who receive a positive PCR or rapid test during SUUSI will be asked to leave and will have their remaining SUUSI tuition refunded if requested. If you test positive at check in, everyone who traveled in the same car with you unmasked will also be asked to leave and will have their remaining SUUSI tuition refunded if requested. Quarantine housing is not provided by SUUSI because WCU rules require members of camps and conferences to leave campus after testing positive. Please contact the SUUSI help line, 1-888-SUUSI-22, if you have tested positive.

What happens if I have symptoms of Covid-19 while at SUUSI?

Any participants exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 at SUUSI will be asked to take a PCR test and remain masked at all times when in public until a negative result is confirmed. Rapid PCR testing is available close to the WCU campus.

Why is SUUSI requiring a negative PCR test instead of a negative antigen test, after someone is exhibiting symptoms?

Rapid antigen tests have a 63% false negative rate on the day of symptom onset for the Omicron strains of coronavirus, while PCR tests have just a 38% false negative rate on the day of symptom onset. SUUSI is requiring a PCR test to reduce the chances of a false negative result that allows someone who is actively contagious to return to the SUUSI community. 

What exactly should I expect about testing at registration? 

Upon arrival, you will be directed to a tent in one of the large parking areas where you will be given a rapid antigen test for each person in your car and a SUUSI 2022 Covid-19 Safety document. You will then administer the tests yourself, following the included instructions. While you wait, please read the SUUSI 2022 Covid-19 Safety document, which will include a place for you to indicate that you tested before traveling to SUUSI and once arriving at SUUSI, and that both of those tests were negative. Once you receive your test results, if they are negative you should check that box on your SUUSI 2022 Covid-19 Safety document and proceed to Bardo for check in. If anyone in your vehicle tests positive, contact the SUUSI help line, 1-888-SUUSI-22.

People approved for early arrival will have testing instructions in their early arrival packet.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

How did SUUSI leadership make these decisions?

The SUUSI Board and Director appointed a new staff position this year, the SUUSI Vaccination and Covid-19 Safety Coordinator, to implement the SUUSI vaccination policy and recommend safety policies for SUUSI 2022. Those recommendations are discussed with the SUUSI Director, Director Elect, Director Emeritus, Board President, and SUUSI Vaccination Policy Committee, and procedures are formed through those discussions that are backed up by careful monitoring of case numbers, community spread data, and recommendation from experts. The more impactful of these procedures, like testing and masking, were then voted on by the Core Staff and SUUSI Board. As the Board cannot alway move as quickly as the pandemic does, the Board has also voted to authorize the The SUUSI Vaccination and Covid-19 Safety Coordinator and Core Staff members to make smaller decisions that are in line with the existing policy and procedural decisions without additional votes from the Board.

What if things change?

SUUSI leadership will continue to monitor the rates of community spread of Covid-19 in the states where most SUUSI participants travel from (North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts). Masks will be required in the SUUSI spaces described above at a minimum unless none of the listed states contain areas with “High” community Covid-19 levels as defined by the CDC, in which case the Covid-19 Safety procedures may be re-assessed. 

Why are we being so restrictive when Jackson County NC (where WCU is located) is currently assessed as “COVID-19 Community Level low risk” by the CDC? 

SUUSI participants travel to SUUSI from all over the country (and world!), so we are making Covid safety decisions based on both the community level of Jackson County and the states we know most SUUSI participants travel from. While the community level of Jackson County is relevant, since SUUSI participants spend more time interacting with each other than people in the broader community, it is just as if not more relevant what the community levels are in the places SUUSI participants are traveling from.

Why didn’t I hear about this sooner?

SUUSI sent a NUUS in March, offered town hall sessions for people to ask questions and indicate their concerns, and then sent another NUUS in May. Each of these included discussion about vaccines, testing, and masks. A dedicated communication was sent on June 9, prior to the close of registration. A follow up will be included in the confirmation NUUS on or around July 1. If you believe you are not on the NUUS distribution list and would like to be, please contact communications@suusi.org. 

Read our COVID Safety policies