Dear Carolina Community,
Congratulations on a successful spring semester. Just four months ago, we began the semester by taking the prudent step of delaying the start of in-person instruction by three weeks. We also implemented important changes to our COVID-19 Community Standards, including the Carolina Together Testing Program and increased support for students subject to quarantine or isolation protocols.
Today, we can see how well these actions — and your collective commitment to the health and safety of our campus and community — have paid off. Last week, the overall asymptomatic positivity rate for the Carolina Together Testing Program was just 0.02%. Our compliance data clearly demonstrate the adherence we’ve seen all year from our students to our community standards and Orange County’s vaccination rate is one of the highest in the state. Thanks to your hard work, we are progressing toward a fall semester that will be a more typical residential academic experience at Carolina, with the goal of a full return to in-person instruction.
Our COVID-19 Community Standards will remain in place during the summer months, but we are making several important changes that take into account recent changes in state and local guidelines thanks to the growing number of people in our community who are vaccinated, and advice from our health and medical experts. These changes will take effect beginning Monday, May 17, and will remain in place until July 31. We will communicate the COVID-19 Community Standards for fall 2021 closer to the start of that semester when we have a clearer picture of the state of the pandemic and our vaccination rates.
Some highlights of the summer COVID-19 Community Standards include:
- A face mask is no longer required while outdoors, unless you are in a group that exceeds our events and gatherings limit. A face mask is recommended whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- University spaces and facilities will continue to be configured to provide safe physical distancing.
- The University is raising its limit on events and gatherings to a maximum of 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. Requests for exceptions should continue to be submitted to the Provost.
- Employees will continue to monitor their symptoms prior to coming to campus but will no longer use an online form to submit a daily report. Instead, students, faculty and staff should monitor their symptoms daily. If they have one of the COVID-19 symptoms they should contact their health care provider and do not come to campus.
- The contact tracing and quarantine and isolation standards have been clarified to align with CDC guidelines for vaccinated individuals. Vaccinated individuals who come into contact with a symptomatic individual are not required to get tested and will not be asked to quarantine. If you live in a group setting or if you have symptoms, a test may still be required.
Our updated community standards apply to students and instructors participating in Maymester and summer classes, which begin on May 19, to all those attending summer camps and programs and to all faculty, staff, students and visitors on the UNC campus. They will also be in effect when we begin welcoming employees who have been working remotely back to campus on July 19.
One of the most important layers of that comprehensive approach is getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The higher the percentage of vaccinated members of our community, the greater likelihood of a more typical Carolina experience. If you haven’t received the vaccine yet, all students and employees and their families can get a vaccine at the Student Stores Pharmacy. If you have been vaccinated, be sure to fill out the COVID-19 Vaccination Certification form and help us maintain the most accurate record possible.
Again, thank you all for your commitment to keeping our campus and local communities safe from the spread of this virus. There has been so much asked of us over the past 14 months, and you answered the call to protect yourselves and each other, a true testament to the Carolina spirit.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost