Dear Carolina Community,
As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, we hope that your summer has provided you with a more typical break. At the same time, we know that for many of you the return to campus on July 19 surfaces many concerns and anxieties as we return to normal campus operations.
The University is committed to making our campus as safe and welcoming as possible in every academic, research and work setting. Because of the hard work of our local community – Orange County has one of the highest vaccination rates in North Carolina – we are able to return to work with greater confidence in our mutual safety. We look forward to a more usual, in-person experience when we welcome over 30,000 students to campus for the fall 2021 term.
We have made significant progress in fighting the virus, and accordingly, are announcing revised COVID-19 Community Standards effective Monday, July 12. These new standards continue to support the safety of our community and align with public health guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
While our adherence to these standards will help to support the safety of our community, the most important step each of us can take to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated. All members of the Carolina community, including family members, can receive a vaccine with no appointment at the Campus Health Pharmacy at Student Stores. If you’re vaccinated, it is important to report it using the COVID-19 Vaccination Certification form. So far, nearly 50% of incoming students have let us know their vaccination status while less than 30% of our faculty and staff have reported.
Effective July 12, these are Carolina’s revised COVID-19 Community Standards:
- Get Vaccinated – Getting an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination is the best way for members of the Carolina community to protect themselves and others and to stop the spread of the virus.
- Face Masks – You must wear a face mask at all times while inside any University building. You may remove your face mask in private offices*; your residence hall room, suite or apartment and when eating, drinking or exercising. Masks are not required outdoors. Vaccinated faculty may remove their masks while teaching as long as three to six feet of physical distancing is maintained. Every week we will follow the science, monitor the situation and evaluate the mask standard.
- Practice Healthy Habits and Be Respectful – As Carolina returns to a typical, in-person experience, we are committed to the well-being of our community – not just physically, but emotionally.
- Monitor your health, and if you have any symptoms listed on the COVID-19 symptom list, do not come to campus. Please contact your doctor for guidance on steps you should take.
- Respect and honor members of the Carolina community who wish to maintain their personal space.
- Members of the Carolina community should not ask others for their personal health information, such as vaccination status. While receiving a COVID-19 vaccination remains the very best way to protect yourself on campus and is strongly encouraged by the University, vaccination is not a University mandate.
- Carolina Together Testing Program – Unvaccinated students will be required to participate in the Carolina Together Testing Program on a weekly basis. Voluntary, asymptomatic testing will remain available for all students, faculty and staff. All students currently enrolled in summer coursework or a professional school should continue participation in the Carolina Testing Program until August 1, regardless of vaccination status.
- Contact Tracing and Quarantine & Isolation – Quarantine and isolation requirements are in place for unvaccinated individuals and vaccinated individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This includes students, faculty and staff who are contacted as part of local or University contact tracing.
With these revised COVID-19 Community Standards, several restrictions will no longer be in place. These include:
- Classroom and building capacity limits will return to normal.
- Event and gathering limits will be lifted.
- Building access will return to normal.
- UNC Dining and Transportation and Parking will return to near normal operations.
- Domestic travel restrictions have been lifted, but international restrictions are still in place.
Throughout the past 15 months the dedicated staff of Facilities Services have increased the amount of cleaning and disinfecting that occurs across campus and also upgraded air filters and performed maintenance on HVAC systems to ensure ideal building ventilation. Enhanced cleaning standards will remain in place, and HVAC systems are scheduled to run for additional time to increase airflow.
We know there are concerns and anxieties about returning to our workplace settings. The stressors of making a major change to our routines once again are real and remain for all of us after over a year of living through a pandemic. While many employees have been working on campus since last summer, many of you have been diligently working from your homes, continuing our mission of research, teaching and service while balancing the needs of your families, many times under the same roof. We are impressed by the work you have done remotely during the pandemic.
As we look to the future, we will work together to shape our reimagined University, and we need you to return to campus to do that. We have an opportunity now to look at our workplace habits and culture and incorporate learnings from the pandemic to better serve our employees as individuals, our teams and the work that we do. We know this transition on July 19 may be difficult, but we believe that by working together to support each other we will succeed.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
*Editor’s note: We have updated the language in the face mask and Carolina Together Testing Program sections for clarity. You may remove your mask in private offices and all students must participate in the Carolina Together Testing Program until August 1.