Message from campus leaders on reducing campus operations

Many of Carolina’s buildings will be closed and in-person, non-essential services will be suspended effective March 20 at 5 p.m.

UNC-Chapel Hill update on Coronavirus

Dear Carolina community,

As COVID-19 continues to spread across our country, we are seeing a dramatic shift in the way we are conducting daily life in order to slow the spread of the virus. The situation is evolving quickly, and today the UNC System instructed all System institutions, including UNC-Chapel Hill, to significantly reduce all operations on our campuses. Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our campus community is our first priority; and secondly, we need to provide the best possible student experience that we can under the circumstances.

Below are changes that will affect all UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and staff, so please read this message thoroughly.

Following the UNC System directive to significantly reduce campus operations and services, many of Carolina’s buildings will be closed and in-person, non-essential services will be suspended effective March 20 at 5 p.m.

Exceptions will be made for a small number of emergency staff, administrators and researchers, as well as for students who are granted special circumstances waivers to remain in campus residence halls.

Information for students

Residence halls are closing to the majority of students

  • Carolina’s residence halls and Granville Towers will be closed to all residents for the rest of the academic year, with few exceptions.
    • For students currently on campus, we are encouraging you to begin moving out as soon as possible, but no later than March 21 at 5 p.m.
    • A schedule for those currently away from campus who need to complete their move out will be made available soon. Guidance will come to residents directly from Campus Housing.
  • Those who need to remain due to special circumstances will be able to apply for a waiver.
    • Waivers will only be granted to those residents who complete an appropriate health screening and clearly establish that no other practical alternative is available.
    • Please fill out this survey to request a special circumstances waiver.
  • All other students should remain at, or return to, their permanent off-campus residence.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services will continue to be available for students via the CAPS 24/7 line at 919-966-3658. A mental health professional will work with you to determine if an in-person or remote appointment is needed.

Carolina Dining Services will be limited to take out

  • Campus residential dining operations will be reduced to limited locations and will only offer takeout meals to the limited number of residents granted special circumstances waivers.

Accommodations are available for remaining students in quarantine and isolation

  • The University will make accommodations for quarantine and isolation if directed by a health care provider. This will be made available only for remaining residential students who have been granted a waiver to live on campus or students who live off-campus and use Campus Health as their primary health care provider.
  • Carolina will make provisions for handling the quarantine and/or isolation should the need arise.

Campus Health will remain open

  • Campus Health will remain open for limited services. Call 919-966-2281 before going to the office in person.
  • Facilities that support the academic and recreational pursuits of our students, faculty and staff will be closed, including the UNC Libraries (online consultation and services available), Campus Recreation, Carolina Union, Student Stores (extremely limited operations), classroom buildings, etc.

Faculty will communicate your remote instruction details shortly

  • Remote instruction will commence, as planned, on March 23.
  • Faculty will confirm details for specific course remote instruction. If you have questions regarding specific course instruction, please contact your instructor.
  • As part of the remote instruction commencing March 23, labs associated with coursework will no longer meet in person. Faculty will send students guidance on how that instruction will be delivered.

Decisions on refunds will be made by the UNC System

  • Any decisions regarding potential refunds for housing or dining fees will be made by the UNC System after April 1, or after the universities are beyond the immediate challenges being faced regarding the spread of COVID-19.
  • We will share more with you when we receive that guidance from the UNC System.

Information for faculty

While there is still work to be done this week, we currently estimate that 95% of our courses will be ready to be taught remotely starting March 23.

  • Faculty are encouraged to deliver this remote instruction from off campus, if at all possible.
  • If you are concerned about adapting your lab or course to remote instruction, please contact your dean for further guidance.
  • While there has been no decision regarding a potential extension of the academic calendar, we are working with the UNC System and SACSCOC for guidance to ensure faculty retain discretion for their specific courses.

Information for graduate students and postdocs

  • For graduate students and postdocs whose work can be conducted remotely, telework options should be implemented, and work should begin away from campus immediately. See the below employee section below for teleworking and leave guidance.
  • The Graduate School will provide guidance for thesis and dissertations.

Information for researchers

  • The University plans to keep critical research operations (as determined by the vice chancellor for research), labs and related facilities operational until further notice.
  • Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson will follow up with additional guidance.

Information for employees

  • For this COVID-19 issue, the UNC System has changed the definition of mandatory employee to employees who are directed by their supervisor to report to work, at a designated University worksite other than their personal residence, at specific dates and times. It is possible that an employee will have a portion of duties that are on campus and can fulfill the remainder of their duties remotely.
  • Effective immediately and until further notice, only mandatory employees under this new definition who need to report to work on campus should do so. All non-mandatory employees — including temporary employees and student workers — will continue to be assigned work and will be expected to work remotely to the fullest extent possible.
  • Supervisors are responsible for designating mandatory employees, and for assigning and tracking their non-mandatory employees’ remote work. To be clear, these changes do not remove an employee’s responsibilities to complete their work assignments. Supervisors should work with HR representatives to ensure mandatory employee designations are logged in the ConnectCarolina system.
  • Mandatory and non-mandatory employees — including temporary employees and student workers — who cannot work remotely for either of the following reasons will receive paid administrative leave until March 31 for the period of time they are unavailable to work.
    • Because of childcare or eldercare needs due to COVID-19-related school and facility closings; or
    • Because their position duties cannot be performed remotely and no alternate remote work is available or feasible.
  • This guidance, which is provided by the UNC System, is effective immediately through March 31 and will be revisited as the situation evolves. Further updates will be provided.
  • Employees who are sick due to symptoms of a cold, flu or COVID-19 or who are caring for a dependent with such symptoms will receive paid administrative leave for any time lost through March 31.
  • More information about the new COVID-19 Leave Provisions, as well as additional guidance from the UNC System, is available on the Human Resources website.

Campus parking guidance for students, faculty and staff

  • Beginning March 18, on-campus parking is available in parking lots throughout campus for mandatory employees and students reporting to work.
  • To ensure access in the event of an emergency and to maintain specific campus services, parking is not available in fire lanes or in accessibility and reserved spaces without the appropriate credential.
  • The Dogwood Deck and Ambulatory Care Center are expressly reserved for patients and visitors only. To accommodate the many health care providers with UNC Health and the School of Medicine, these employees will be directed to primarily utilize Craige, Dogwood, Jackson and S-11 decks due to the close proximity to the medical campus. With this information, please plan accordingly with daily shift changes.

Information regarding Commencement

We have not made a decision about our Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 10. We will be seeking input from our graduating seniors should we need to make a change to our current plans.

Carolina is, at its heart, its people

As we mentioned earlier, this is an unprecedented time for our campus. We realize this update presents challenges for everyone. This is not the Carolina experience we wanted for this semester, especially for our graduating seniors and graduate students.

We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we make decisions for the health, safety and well-being of our community. Please stay safe and make it a point to stay informed on a daily basis. We will provide updates on a regular basis.

Carolina is, at its heart, its people. So many of you have come together to help our campus through the last few weeks, and together — even if remotely — we will work through these challenges and continue to thrive.


Kevin M. Guskiewicz

Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost