The University has extended spring break through March 22 due to concerns about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. When students do return, most courses will be on remote instruction status “for the foreseeable future,” UNC announced Wednesday afternoon.
Under normal circumstances, students and faculty would have returned to resume classes on March 16. The changes are in line with what many universities across the country are doing to minimize the possible consequences of thousands of people coming back to the campus from across the country and around the globe.
Plans are for the campus to remain open and operational during the extended spring break and during the period of remote instruction.
UNC events for more than 50 attendees are canceled effective immediately, on or off campus.
University-related travel outside North Carolina is prohibited until further notice. Within the state, travel is permitted but must be limited to gatherings of 50 or fewer people.
UNC is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases on the campus at this time. As of Wednesday, seven North Carolinians had tested presumptively positive for the virus. Gov. Roy Cooper ’79 (’82 JD) has declared a state of emergency in North Carolina.
“We are working with the UNC System, leadership at N.C. State and Duke universities and leaders at many of our [Association of American Universities] peer institutions, as well as local, regional and state government officials to inform our decisions,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement to the campus community.
“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.”
The faculty and staff will use the next week to prepare to deliver coursework remotely. “Your instructors will provide further information in the coming week regarding your coursework and assignments,” the campus statement said.
UNC recognizes that some students will need to return to campus — residence and dining halls, libraries and Campus Health will stay open. “If you are a student who is able to take all classes remotely, we strongly encourage you to remain off campus until further notice,” the statement said.
“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 can return to normalcy as soon as possible, but we must plan for digital operations through the remainder of the semester.”
Anyone with questions about these guidelines can call a hotline at 919-445-5000. The hotline will be staffed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Messages left after hours will be returned within one working day. For updates, visit unc.edu/coronavirus.
The UNC System also announced Wednesday that all 17 of its institutions will “transition from in-person instruction to a system of alternative course delivery, where possible and practical.” The goal is to “maximize flexibility in how we deliver education in order to limit the potential impact of the coronavirus at our institutions.”
The system said those courses also will begin on Monday, March 23, and last indefinitely, with the goal of returning to in-person instruction as soon as reasonably possible.