With health and safety as our first priority, our ability to offer a residential, in-person educational experience hinges on the willingness of our campus community to come together in support of our collective health and safety. Each of us has a responsibility to know and act on these standards and policies in a way that maximizes a safe and healthy environment for us to teach, work, learn and live.
To this end, we are developing a set of community standards and policies for our students, faculty, staff and visitors. We are all in this together, and we believe that together, we can face the challenges presented by COVID-19 with resilience, determination and great support for our community.
Prevent and Protect
- Understand how the COVID-19 virus spreads. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to someone with the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the primary way the virus spreads is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Research studies have demonstrated that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. There is currently no vaccine available so understanding how to prevent infection, particularly for those with increased risk of complications, is critical.
- Wash your hands often. Everyone should practice regular hand hygiene as advised by the CDC. Research continues to support that washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. Always wash your hands after you touch highly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons and photo copiers, and avoid touching your face, especially after coming into contact with these highly touched surfaces. Hand hygiene is especially critical after sneezing or coughing, after using the bathroom, before and after eating and throughout the day. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% to 90% alcohol as hand sanitizers are also effective at preventing the spread of germs. Also, wash your hands before and after handling a face mask or facial covering.
- Practice physical distancing. Research has shown that transmission of COVID-19 can occur even when individuals are asymptomatic. Physical distancing is a key way we can help limit the spread of the virus. The University guideline on physical distancing asks students, staff, faculty and visitors to stay at least 6 feet away from other people whenever possible in all indoor and outdoor settings. Additionally, individuals should avoid gathering in large groups and avoid crowded areas. When indoors, all individuals must wear a face covering or face mask and maintain 6 feet of physical distance or observe facility specific requirements. When outdoors, individuals must wear a face covering or face mask when appropriate physical distancing is not possible.
- Wear a face mask. In accordance with the University’s guideline on face coverings and face masks, face masks must be worn in all classroom settings by students, faculty, staff, and visitors from entering the building to leaving the building and in indoor common spaces such as common building spaces and hallways. In dining halls, masks must be worn except when eating or drinking. Face masks do not have to be worn inside a student’s own on-campus domicile or inside a faculty or staff member’s own private office when alone. The University will centrally procure and pay for masks for those who do not have their own. More details about this process will be released. If the mask becomes damaged or visibly soiled, we will provide a new face mask.Individuals may wear their own cloth masks or face coverings if they prefer. Cloth masks or face coverings should be washed daily, and the fabric design or pattern should be appropriate for the classroom and the workplace.
- Away from campus, Orange County requires face masks in restaurants, grocery and retail stores, in public transportation vehicles and in any indoor or outdoor situation where you cannot maintain a 6-foot physical distance.
- Maintain clean, safe spaces. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces you interact with and touch with CDC approved disinfectants. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided in each workplace, classroom, residence hall, dining facility and other campus facilities. For information about measures being implemented by Facilities and Services, visit the Covid-19 Operations FAQs.
- Engage in smaller group and virtual settings. Individuals and groups, including student and community organizations, should limit in–person programs, events and social gatherings to the number of individuals specified by national, state and local guidance. On-campus space reservations will be limited to those individuals and groups that abide by this guidance.
- Follow immunization recommendations. Individuals are encouraged (and may be required) to remain current on their recommended immunizations that are covered by most health plans, including the annual flu shot. This fall, Campus Health and University Employee Occupational Health Clinic will have flu shot clinics conveniently located across campus for students, faculty and staff. By getting an annual flu shot individuals are less likely to get sick from influenza thereby reducing the burden on the UNC Health Care System.
- All new and transfer students are required to submit documentation of state–required immunizations to Campus Health.
- Students who were previously enrolled at UNC–Chapel Hill are not required to resubmit immunization documentation.
- Protect the community. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms or knowledge of exposure should contact their medical provider and not report to work sites, classes or come to campus (unless your primary residence is on-campus).
- Provide medical return clearance. Individuals who receive a positive COVID-19 test should provide a statement from their physician to their supervisor (for employees) or Campus Health (for students) that they are clear to return before returning to work or classes.
- Self-check for symptoms daily. Before leaving home for work or study each day, all individuals should check for symptoms using the COVID-19 screening checklist. Anyone who is experiencing any symptom(s) indicated on the screening checklist must not go to class or work and should contact their health care provider.
- Seek medical care. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms or knowledge of exposure should contact a health care professional.
- Students: Contact Campus Health or your primary health care provider. For Campus Health, call 919-966-2281, or schedule an appointment via the Campus Health website. Before visiting Campus Health, call first so staff there can plan for your arrival.
- Employees: Anyone who is experiencing any symptom(s) indicated on the screening checklist must not come to campus. Instead, individuals with COVID-19 symptoms should contact the UNC Health Respiratory Diagnostic Center or the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic and act on the instructions received.
- Testing. Testing is done based on CDC recommendations for those with symptoms, those who do not have symptoms but came in close contact with someone who has tested positive and those who are in a CDC-defined high-risk group. Campus Health provides COVID diagnostic testing for students, post-doctoral fellows and their eligible partners and spouses. EHS/UEOHC recommends that employees (except Healthcare and COVID-19 researchers) utilize their primary care physician (PCP) to request SARS-CoV-2 testing.
- Based on information and advice from experts, testing every member of our community could create a false sense of security. The CDC does not recommend widespread, asymptomatic testing, and instead recommends that all individuals take preventative measures including wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is consistent with the advice of our own infectious disease and public health faculty experts.
- Participate in medical monitoring and/or contact tracing. Individuals may be required to participate in self-monitoring of symptoms if identified as a potential close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual or if determined to be an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive person. Campus Health, with guidance from the local Health Department, conducts close contact tracing when students and post-doctoral fellows test positive for COVID-19. EHS/UEOHC initiates contact tracing of close contacts that occurred in the workplace/on-campus only. The county where the employee resides is responsible for contacting close contacts outside of the workplace/campus. EHS/UEOHC works closely with county health departments to identify these close contacts at the workplace/campus.
- Promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Create and sustain community and a sense of belonging where everyone feels welcomed and respected. If you or someone you know has experienced expressions of discrimination or harassment, contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office for support, reporting options and additional resources. For consultation or training on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace or the classroom, contact the University Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
- Care for your physical and mental well-being. Get outside, exercise and take breaks regularly, and connect appropriately with family or friends. You should reach out for support if you or someone you know needs help coping or navigating concerns around mental health and well-being.
- Connect across campus. Physical distancing should not mean social isolation. Seek opportunities to connect appropriately with small groups and student organizations and take advantage of the virtual programs and services that can keep you engaged as a Tar Heel.
These community standards have been established to promote the health of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. We fully expect that everyone on campus will understand and appreciate the critical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and follow these standards. Our first and preferred approach to assure compliance with these standards will be through public health education and communication. If necessary, however, the University and other governmental authorities will institute applicable enforcement measures (including disciplinary, legal or other appropriate actions) to address certain violations.
As we prioritize safety, we will need your help to return to normal on-campus operations. We all have a role to play in this process and we need your help to make this phased reentry as safe and successful as possible.