August 20, 2020
Dear Carolina Students and Faculty,
We have long known that this would be a semester like no other. The University’s decision on Monday to shift our undergraduate instruction entirely remote and to further de-densify our residence halls has represented that challenge in every way possible. We know many of you anticipated some change to our plans this fall because of COVID-19, but this came very fast with a heartbreaking decision to transition when we really wanted to give our students a full Carolina experience. We commend your resilience, your flexibility and your commitment to your education during this difficult time.
To our students, we recognize that the past two weeks have been a roller coaster for many of you, especially those who came to Chapel Hill only to experience a growing number of COVID cases on our campus. Those escalating numbers and the ensuing change of plans created turmoil, and as a result, you are now making significant changes to your daily lives and the plans you had for your semester. Many of you need to move your residences, in addition to transitioning to remote instruction.
With this in mind, we are pausing all undergraduate instruction on Monday, August 24, and Tuesday, August 25 to give students time to move their belongings, catch their breath and make this transition in as equitable a way as possible. Undergraduate classes will resume on Wednesday, August 26. Undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in courses taught in one of Carolina’s professional schools should contact their faculty for further guidance.
Additionally, we are extending the deadline from August 21 to August 31 for undergraduate students to drop classes without receiving a “W” mark and have their tuition pro-rated accordingly. This extension will provide more time for students – particularly new students – to understand remote learning expectations and talk with their academic advisors about their course loads if needed.
To our faculty, the academic hours for the canceled class meetings on August 24 and 25 should be made up later in the semester. However, faculty will have discretion in how to accomplish this by adding class meetings, extending class time for scheduled classes, providing outside-of-class assignments, or other ways to ensure that students have the opportunity to achieve the learning outcomes of the course. We are grateful to you – our incredible faculty – for not only the expertise you bring to your classroom, but your dedication and compassion for our students. That has never been more evident than what you have shown these past six months.
In addition, please know that there are resources on campus to help students. Faculty have been encouraged to offer flexibility and care in supporting their students in the weeks and months ahead. The CV-19 Student Care Hub provides information on academic, financial and health and wellness resources available to all students. Federal CARES Act grants, the Student Impact Fund and the Student Emergency Fund are available for students with financial hardships. The Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, the University Libraries, Academic Advising and Counseling and Psychological Services are all open and prepared to help students remotely.
As always, the Carolina Together website is the best source for the latest campus updates. In addition, we have established a Carolina Together hotline, so you can stay connected with the University. If you have questions, please call 919-445-5000 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for assistance. Messages left after hours and weekends will be responded to within one business day.
You have already overcome so much on your academic journeys, and we are proud to have you as part of our University community. We have successfully transitioned to remote instruction before, and we will do it again.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Robert A. Blouin