Coronavirus Student and parent frequently asked questions

Student and parent resources

The following links can provide information and advice on the challenges facing students and parents.

How will classes be conducted this semester?  

Starting March 23, the majority of our class offerings resumed remotely and will remain that way for the remainder of the semester.

For remote education resources, visit the University’s Learning Center website.

Will Carolina change grading to pass/fail?

In an email to campus on March 20, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Provost Bob Blouin outlined an emergency grading accommodation that expanded the pass/fail grading option for undergraduate students.

Undergraduate students can elect the pass/fail option for undergraduate courses they are taking during the spring 2020 semester. Students, including undergraduates, enrolled in professional schools or programs in the Graduate School will follow the decisions of their professional school or of the Graduate School about which courses, if any, are eligible for the pass/fail declaration.

For the spring 2020 semester, students who elect to place a course on pass/fail will do so through the Office of the University Registrar. Students wishing to elect for this option need to do so by Aug. 7.

As of April 2, 2020, the College suspended the regular “no pass/fail” Summer School grading policy and extended the pass/fail option through the Summer 2020 terms (including Maymester, Summer Session I, and Summer Session II courses).  The deans of the graduate and professional schools will continue to have full discretion and oversight of courses in their schools or under their purview, including programs with undergraduate students, to make decisions regarding pass/fail.

What does it mean that residence halls are closed?

Carolina’s residence halls and Granville Towers will be closed to all residents for the rest of the academic year, with few exceptions. Students should remain at their permanent off-campus residence.

Will I be reimbursed for my housing or meal plan?

The UNC System confirmed on March 30 that prorated refunds connected to spring 2020 on-campus housing and dining costs will be issued. The University has issued these refunds and delivered them to students who were set up for direct deposit.

For questions regarding potential adjustments to housing or dining costs related to study abroad, students should contact their study abroad program advisor for guidance.

How can I get a refund for my parking permit if I’m a student?

Student parking costs for registered permit holders are suspended effective the first day after students were told to leave residence halls. Credits for parking permits for students who did not remain on campus will be made to student accounts. More information is available about parking at https://move.unc.edu/news/covid-19/.

Are campus events canceled?

Yes. Organizers of these events must postpone, cancel or explore virtual options for any University-affiliated events.

What about athletics events?

Carolina’s Athletics have suspended athletic-related activities including all competition, formal and organized practice, recruiting and participation in NCAA championships until further notice in accordance with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s decision.

Has Commencement been canceled?

Spring Commencement ceremonies have been postponed. Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz is contacting members of the Class of 2020 for feedback on how students would like to move forward

Is Summer School impacted?

All Summer School courses (Maymester, Summer Session 1 and Summer Session 2) will be delivered only through remote instruction.

I am a work-study student. Will I get paid?

Our first concern is your health and your success as a student.

If you participate in a work-study program you will be allowed to continue work-study employment remotely, so long as your employer is able to provide appropriate work and supervision in a remote setting. Please reach out directly to your supervisor to request remote work arrangements. The University realizes that not every work-study position lends itself to remote work. If your supervisor is unable to provide remote work options for you, please ask them to reach out to work-study@unc.edu.

Who is at higher risk for contracting COVID-19? What should I do if I’m at higher risk?

The CDC continues to update their list of higher-risk populations as they learn more about COVID-19. For the most recent list, visit the CDC website.

As a community, we understand there are diverse needs of students, faculty and staff.  Individuals with chronic medical conditions may have concerns about their health during this time of uncertainty. Please contact your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your particular situation. Besides taking the usual hand/respiratory hygiene precautions and social distancing, the CDC has additional advice to help keep you healthy and safe on its website.

How can I best protect myself?

The CDC recommends following the same guidelines as flu prevention:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What should I do if I'm sick?

Anyone who is sick with fever and a cough, or is having difficulty breathing, should seek medical care immediately and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of symptoms.

Immediately contact Campus Health at 919-966-6603 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) or 919-966-6573 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). To make arrangements for classwork and other academic obligations, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at odos@unc.edu or 919-966-4042.

What is Carolina doing to prevent the spread of illness on campus?

Following the UNC System directive to significantly reduce campus operations and services, many of Carolina’s buildings are closed and in-person, non-essential services have been suspended. Classes will be conducted remotely for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester and for all of Summer School.

The University’s Communicable Diseases Working Group is monitoring updates on the situation from the Centers for Disease Control and is using their guidance and recommendations to inform our own campus response. We work closely with local and state officials, Carolina’s Environment, Health and Safety office, and UNC Hospitals to help address communicable diseases and help keep our students, faculty, staff and University community safe and healthy.

I feel anxious about the possibility of exposure from people who I think may have been exposed. How can I find help?

It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis. It is important to remember to not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms, travel history or identity. Students struggling with anxiety can contact Counseling and Psychological Services: 919-966-3658 (24/7). The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a resource available to help employees through stressful situations and events.

As a community, we understand there are diverse needs of students, faculty and staff. Individuals with chronic medical conditions may have concerns about their health during this time of uncertainty. Please contact your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your particular situation. Besides taking the usual hand/respiratory hygiene precautions and social distancing, the CDC has additional advice to help keep you healthy and safe.

How can I report an anonymous health and safety concern to the University?

Anyone who has concerns about their immediate health or safety should call 911. Anyone who is sick with fever and a cough, or is having difficulty breathing, should seek medical care immediately and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of recent travel and symptoms.

Other incidents or concerns can be reported using the Carolina Ethics Line at 866-294-8688.

What should I do if I witness or experience harassment or discrimination due to the coronavirus?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion. While the spread of disease may cause fear and uncertainty, we reject xenophobia and any speech or action that would be discriminatory toward any member of our campus community. It is wrong to assume that because of someone’s perceived country or region of origin that they have come in contact with or have contracted the new coronavirus. If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination or harassment, contact the University’s Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

How are we cleaning and disinfecting campus?

All shifts of Housekeeping Services staff are wiping all surfaces with disinfectants that are effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and are virucidal. These products have been used previously on campus for other viruses including coronavirus and are EPA registered.

Our housekeeping staff are provided with training regarding the appropriate and effective use of these disinfectant products. Staff are also provided with PPE (gloves, eye protection) as appropriate for their job duties and products used.

I am returning from study abroad. Do I qualify for insurance?

Students who were enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield GeoBlue travel health insurance are eligible to enroll in the U.S.-based StudentBlue Plan. Loss of GeoBlue is considered a qualifying life event to obtain StudentBlue. Students have 30 days from the day their GeoBlue coverage ends to elect coverage in StudentBlue.

For more information contact Vicki Warwick, vwarwick@email.unc.edu, and include your name, PID, date of birth and date that you are canceling GeoBlue.

Since I have to return home, how will I continue my academic program?

Students should pursue available remote options with their study abroad provider or host university.

Academic Advising can help students determine available options for continuation of their academic program. Please contact Lora Wical (wical@email.unc.edu) or Andrea Caldwell (andreac@email.unc.edu).

If my provider or host university does not provide an online program, what are my options?

It may take the University additional time to understand and communicate information with you regarding academic credit and program expenses.

What if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent me from returning to a safe place off-campus in the U.S.?

Contact the Office of the Dean of Students for assistance: odos@unc.edu,919-966-4042
Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

How does this affect my summer study abroad program?

All summer 2020 study abroad and international education programs are canceled. This includes undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

When will things return to normal?

There is no set end date to this new arrangement. We will constantly revisit and reevaluate the situation around COVID-19 changes. Our hope is that we, like so many communities, can return to normalcy soon, but we must plan for remote operations through the remainder of the semester, if necessary.