Provost’s Weekly Message

McCorkle place with large study tent on grass.
Campus scenes on August 11, 2020, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community, 

A question I am frequently asked about Carolina Together, our Roadmap for Fall 2020, is what is the most important part? Is it wearing a mask? Is it staying six feet apart or remembering to wash my hands? Is it how our campus buildings and classrooms have been carefully arranged, or offering remote-only classes? 

Certainly, all of these steps are crucial to helping prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on campus and in our communities. But the most important part of Carolina Together is the shared responsibility we have as Tar Heels to keep one another safe. When you follow our Community Standards and University Guidelines, when you Know Your Ws, you are the most important part of our Roadmap. 

It has been heartening to hear reports from faculty and staff and to experience for myself the excellent compliance on campus this week. Our goal, certainly, is full participation both on campus and off among all members of our Carolina community. 

We continue to update the Carolina Together website in response to your questions and feedback and with the latest updates from campus units continuing to work to maintain a safe and healthy environment this fall. 

Event Guidelines 

The University has established a University Guideline on Gatherings and Events. All students, student organizations, staff, faculty, and visitors are expected to limit the size of formal and informal gatherings and events as set forth in this guideline.  

All gatherings or events on-campus, formal or informal, are limited to a maximum of 25 people whether indoors or outdoors. Reservations and use of on-campus spaces are made with the unit which manages the space, and event registrants should submit a plan to the approving unit or department outlining compliance with the University’s Community Standards and guidelines and space requirements. 

The State of North Carolina has issued a public health order imposing a 10-person limit on gatherings indoors and a 25-person limit on gatherings outdoors.  All students, student organizations, staff, and faculty are expected to comply with these restrictions off-campus, as well as any local requirements that may be more restrictive. 

Fraternity & Sorority Life 

Last week, Chancellor GuskiewiczVice Chancellor Amy Johnson and I sent a letter to all members of the Fraternity and Sorority Life communityaddressing concerns over reports of large gatherings at fraternity and sorority houses and other residences that included multiple violations of our Community Standards, as well as local and state public health orders. As noted in the letter, students who blatantly disregard the standards and fail to live up to the agreed upon expectations, including hosting large gatherings, are subject to restrictions on access to the campus and potential disenrollment. Student organizations that do not comply jeopardize their University recognition, including loss of funding and access to University resources and facilities. 

UNC-Chapel Hill COVID-19 Dashboard 

The COVID-19 dashboard is updated weekly and pulls data from multiple sources to illustrate and track various metrics that will help inform our decision-making related to campus operations and possible off-ramps in consultation with the UNC System and local health officials. Weekly updates allow the University to protect the privacy of student and employee information while enabling us to observe campus trends. 

This week the dashboard was updated to add data regarding academic operations and on campus housing occupancy. 

Campus Maps 

To assist with navigating campus quickly and accessing the multiple resources available this semester, we have created single page with campus maps for buildings and navigation. With the new site students can easily search for their schedule and receive the assigned entry and exit door and the suggested time to enter the building. Maps of each building that include the entry numbers are provided on the site. 

When on campus, you will see Carolina Together Ambassadors outside and inside 12 campus buildings with large numbers of classrooms to support physical distancing and mask-wearing, give directions, answer questions and help with pedestrian traffic flow. Carolina Together Ambassadors are not responsible for enforcement and are not taking on a campus compliance or safety role. They are on duty from 30 minutes prior to a building’s first class until after the last class finishes, helping students enter and leave buildings promptly so that classes can begin on time. 

Best Practices for Students 

This semester is different than any other before and it is up to all of us to do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe. Students will notice changes to regular operations and we are highlighting some of those here. Most importantly, you must wear a mask to participate in in-person courses. You will not be admitted to class without one. If you forget your mask, there are emergency mask distribution locations across campus. Google map of these locations can be found on Carolina Together and is also available in the Carolina Ready Safety App. 

Return to Carolina Guide 

The new Return to Carolina Guide outlines some of the details about what is expected of employees as they return. This guide is intended to answer some of the questions we’re hearing the most from faculty and staff, and to point you in the right direction should you have questions. Embedded in this guide are the Community Standards, which are an expectation of your employment at the University. 

Carolina Together Care Kits 

Our Carolina Together Care Kits continue to be distributed across campus to students and employees. Undergraduates can continue to pick up a kit during assigned times at SASB-North through next Friday, August 28. Graduate and Professional students are continuing to receive their Care Kits via their academic programs, and distribution will continue through next week. Employees who are returning to work on campus may pick up their kit from their department’s community protective equipment (CPE) coordinator. Care kits will not be distributed in the mail. 

The Care Kits are not the University’s primary CPE supply for the campus community. Anyone working on campus receives appropriate CPE from the University. This includes faculty, staff, and student and graduate employees. This CPE is separate from the Carolina Together Care Kits, which are meant to supplement CPE that the University provides.  

Travel Guidelines 

The CDC recommends travelers be vigilant about following recommended precautions to prevent exposure to others including the 3 W’s (wear a mask, wait 6 feet from others, and wash your hands). If you’ve recently been in a situation with a higher risk of exposure such as a country, state or county identified by the CDC as having COVID-19 transmission that is high or increasing or you’ve attended a large social or mass gathering, the CDC has posted detailed recommendations on their website. 

Testing and Tracing 

Environment, Health and Safetythe University Employee Ocuppational HealthClinic and Campus Healthare working closely with the Orange County Health Department and with local county health departments to conduct contact tracing when positive tests occur among students, faculty, or staff. 

If a student tests positive, Campus Health will notify the Orange County Health Department. If notification of a local health department is required based upon a student’s local residence, either their on-campus or off-campus housing, Orange County makes that contact. Likewise, for faculty and staff positive test results are reported to the local health department based upon the employee’s residence and self-reported by using the COVID-19 Wellness Tool or by contacting UEOHC. UEOHC then works with Orange County and the local health department to conduct contact tracing. It has been reported that positive results for students in particular would be reported to their permanent residencebut unless the student is currently residing in that county, state or country when the test occurs that is inaccurate. 

We will continue to update the Carolina Together website, and you can contact me with your questions, concerns and feedback using this form. 

Bob Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost