Today, the senior leadership announced a plan for mitigating the spread of the new coronavirus. The following update that was shared by email:
Dear Carolina Community,
As you are well aware, COVID-19 is impacting the lives of many people around the world. This rapidly evolving situation has also created tension and stress for many on our campus. Despite the challenges of these uncertain times, we are committed to helping you achieve your academic goals while also protecting the health and well-being of our community.
As we communicated earlier this week, the University’s senior leadership has been working to evaluate the potential impacts of COVID-19 on our campus to determine the best strategy moving forward. We have consulted with a variety of groups on campus, including our infectious disease experts, faculty leadership and University working groups. We are working with the UNC System, leadership at NC State and Duke Universities and leaders at many of our AAU peer institutions, as well as local, regional and state government officials to inform our decisions.
Today, we are announcing a new plan that will require us to pivot from where we were as a campus one week ago to encourage greater “social distancing” and mitigate the spread of the virus.
- We are extending spring break through Sunday, March 22. There will be no academic instruction offered during this time, and we strongly encourage students to remain off campus. Our faculty will use this time next week, working with staff, graduate teaching assistants, campus IT teams and the Center for Faculty Excellence, to prepare to deliver coursework remotely. Your instructors will provide further information in the coming week regarding your coursework and assignments.
- Remote instruction will begin the week of March 23. Starting Monday, March 23, the majority of our classes will be offered remotely and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Faculty and teaching assistants, you will hear from the Provost’s office soon regarding the resources on Keep Teaching to support you in delivering your courses remotely. Additionally, deans and department chairs will be in touch with further guidance later this week. It is too early to project how each course will ultimately be offered.
- Campus will remain open and operational during the extended spring break and during the period of remote instruction. We recognize that some students will need to return to campus, so the campus will be open, including residence and dining halls, libraries and Campus Health. If you are a student who is able to take all of your classes remotely, we strongly encourage you to remain off campus until further notice.
- Campus events for more than 50 attendees are canceled effective immediately. Event organizers must postpone, cancel or explore virtual options for any University-affiliated events with more than 50 people both on- and off-campus until further notice.
- We are updating our travel guidance. The University is prohibiting university-affiliated travel outside the state of North Carolina. Within the state, University travel is permitted but it must be limited to gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Further guidance about exceptions to this policy will be provided shortly.
We want to emphasize – the University remains open and operational at this time. Additional guidance for faculty and staff will be provided separately later this week.
There is no set end date to this new arrangement. We will constantly revisit and reevaluate our policies as the situation around COVID-19 evolves. Our hope is that we, like so many communities, can return to normalcy as soon as possible, but we must plan for digital operations through the remainder of the semester, if necessary.
We realize this update presents challenges for many of you. Our campus thrives on learning experiences that involve social interaction. This is not the Carolina experience we wanted for this semester. We are committed to ensuring all of our students, especially our graduating seniors, can meet their academic requirements. However, we must be cautious and do our part to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
You will be hearing from us regularly over the coming days and weeks, and in the meantime, you can visit our COVID-19 website for updates. There are also support services for students, faculty and staff on the Resources section.
In our 226-year history, we have faced serious, well-documented challenges and disruptions to campus life. At every step, Carolina has proven its resilience. This is a challenge for our time and one we believe today’s Carolina is well-positioned to accept.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost