Acknowledging that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at record levels in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country, the University announced Thursday that there will be no in-person undergraduate classes for the first three weeks of the semester. Classes are set to start Jan. 19.
Graduate and professional program start dates may vary, with options for starting remotely, the announcement said.
Most classes with more than 35 students already are to be taught remotely for the entire semester. The University expects to be able to accommodate a limited number of courses with up to 50 students for in-person modes of delivery, based on the needs of the course.
The some 3,500 students assigned single-occupancy rooms in dorms and Granville Towers can check in starting Jan. 13. (Normal dorm capacity plus Granville is 9,500.) Housing fees will be prorated according to when students choose to move in, and students will pay the double occupancy room rate.
“We are making these changes with the health of our campus and the community in mind,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin said in a statement. “We have carefully analyzed the data and consulted with our campus public health and infectious disease experts, the chair of the faculty, the chair of the Employee Forum, the student body president, UNC Health, county health officials and the UNC System to inform these decisions.
“We have also heard from students and parents and want to offer them maximum flexibility as we head into the spring semester under the current circumstances.”
There is no change in the academic calendar. UNC plans to forego spring break in anticipation of continued disruption from the pandemic, planning instead for five break days that are part of spring’s academic calendar: Feb. 15–16, March 11–12 and April 5.
The last day of classes will be May 5; Commencement is scheduled for May 16. The 2020 winter Commencement was postponed with the intent to hold it in May as well.
Carolina will begin a testing program for COVID-19 more rigorous than last fall’s. All undergraduate students planning to live on campus and in Chapel Hill or Carrboro will be required to take a test at home prior to arrival as well as regular testing twice a week, even if they aren’t displaying symptoms.
Testing for graduate students will depend on their interactions on campus and the requirements determined by their program. Those coming to campus to teach, learn or work in a lab will be required to test regularly, while some will be required to use UNC’s Daily Health Checklist to monitor symptoms. Testing will be voluntary.
Faculty and staff working on campus will be asked to check for symptoms before coming to work each day.
Early next week, all members of the campus community will receive information regarding HallPass, a web-based app developed by UNC faculty that will administer the testing and contact tracing program.
The University is posting updates and details about plans at carolinatogether.unc.edu.