COVID-19 Community Standards The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

It will take the commitment of all of us to ensure our success as we respond to the challenge presented by COVID-19. Our COVID-19 Community Standards – wear a mask, remain six feet apart, comply with gathering limits, monitor your health daily and participate in the Carolina Together Testing Program – are the individual actions we must all take that, collectively, will help protect the Carolina community.

Students must acknowledge the community standards as a condition of enrollment, and students who do not adhere to the standards are subject to administrative or disciplinary action. All faculty and staff are expected to know and follow our community standards as a condition of employment. Visitors to the University are expected to follow the community standards as well.

The COVID-19 Community Standards are:

  • Wear a Mask
  • Wait Six Feet Apart (Physical Distancing)
  • Comply with Gathering Limits
  • Monitor Your Health
  • Comply with Testing, Tracing and Quarantine/Isolation Requirements

In addition to five mandatory standards, these additional community standards are strongly encouraged:

  • Wash Your Hands
  • Follow Immunization Recommendations

Wear a Mask

Person wearing face mask.

Wear a Mask

A face mask must be worn at all times when inside all University buildings. In addition, remain six feet apart while on campus.

A face mask must be worn when outdoors on campus whenever six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

All face masks must meet the following criteria:

  • Fit snugly and securely over the mouth and nose and against the side of the face;
  • Be secured by ties or ear loops;
  • Allow for unrestricted breathing; and
  • In the case of cloth face masks, be able to be laundered and dried without damage or change to shape.


There are limited circumstances where a face mask is not required. Statewide guidelines may override/overrule some of the circumstances. If you have a question, always check for posted signs and instructions on University buildings.  A  face mask is not required in the following limited circumstances:

  • In your residence hall room: Students living in Carolina Housing or in Granville Towers are not required to wear a mask while in your assigned residence hall room with the door closed but must wear a face mask if the room door is open or while in residence hall lobbies, hallways, elevators and other common areas.
  • In your personal workspace: University employees are not required to wear a mask while working alone in a private workspace. A face mask must be worn in common workspaces or when others are present in the employee’s workspace and in all common areas including elevators, hallways, restrooms and break rooms.
  • Eating or drinking on campus: While actively eating or drinking at a dining facility on University property. Appropriate physical distancing is always required.
  • While exercising in a University facility: Unless otherwise directed or noted by a statewide guideline, when exercising in a University recreation facility and observing appropriate physical distancing and complying with all facility-specific requirements.
  • Accommodations: An exemption to the mask wearing community standard will not typically be considered as a reasonable accommodation. Individuals with a disability or health condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask may seek alternative accommodations through the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (faculty and staff) or Accessibility Resources and Service (students).
  • Medical attention: An individual who needs medical attention or services requiring temporary removal of the face mask.
  • Such other limited exceptions as may be expressly approved by the Chancellor or Provost or their designees in consultation with public health and infectious disease experts or as may be required by law.

Students, staff, and faculty are also expected to comply with any requirement to wear a face mask issued by state and municipal authorities for any off-campus location.


Wait Six Feet Apart (Physical Distancing)

Arrow indicating 6 feet.

Wait Six Feet Apart (Physical Distancing)

Remain six feet apart while on campus.

While indoors, a face mask is also required. While outdoors, a face mask is required if six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

Signs, barriers, or other markers are displayed or erected throughout campus to remind individuals to consistently observe physical distancing. Some University buildings may have alternative or additional facility-specific requirements.


Comply with the University’s Events and Gatherings Limits

Image of 5 people standing together.

Comply with the University’s Events and Gatherings Limits

Any community member attending an event or gathering must wear a mask and must maintain at least six feet of physical distance, even when complying with limits for events and gatherings. The most frequent cause of the spread of COVID-19 among members of the University community is individuals participating in events or gatherings.

The University will set limits for events and gatherings on campus. Limits for off-campus events and gatherings are set by state and municipal authorities.

All students and registered student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, hosting, sponsoring, or co-sponsoring any meeting, gathering, social activity or other in-person event must comply with the gathering limits set forth below.

This includes complying with the community standards for masks and physical distancing.

On Campus

All gatherings or events on campus, formal or informal, may not exceed 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors regardless of location, unless otherwise provided. Even within these limits, you must wear a mask and remain six feet apart at both indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The limit of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors for gatherings or events does not apply to classrooms or other campus spaces when used for instructional purposes, research or administrative functions. Seating restrictions and other space modifications have been implemented to reduce building occupancy and promote physical distancing.

Any request for an exception to the size limit on gatherings must be approved, in advance, by the Provost or designee. Any request for an exception must include a description of the proposed gathering or event and include a plan for enforcing mask and physical distancing requirements.

The request must be submitted by and have the approval of the senior-level administrator of the unit (e.g. Dean, Director, Vice Chancellor) requesting the exception. Only University entities and units may apply for exceptions at this time. Registered student organizations must submit a Plan for Meeting Community Standards at University Affiliates’ Events.  (Please note: For AY2020-21, all fraternity and sorority chapter recruitment and intake activity must be virtual, as defined by the four student-run UNC-Chapel Hill fraternity and sorority councils. Exception requests for chapter recruitment and intake events will not be considered.) For more information, visit the section on Events and Gatherings on the Carolina Together website.


All students, student organizations, staff and faculty are expected to comply with state and local restrictions for events and gatherings occurring off-campus and should comply with any other local restrictions for events occurring in different counties. Continuously updated information on state and local restrictions is available on the North Carolina and Orange County websites.

The State of North Carolina and Orange County have issued a series of public health orders throughout the pandemic limiting the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings. These orders are subject to frequent change. Students, student organizations, staff and faculty are responsible for being aware and understanding the current limits.

All participants in any off-campus gathering that includes members outside of your household, regardless of size, should wear a mask and remain six feet apart.

To limit the size of events and gatherings both on and off-campus, individuals and organizations should consider any or all of the following:

  • The current state and local limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings;
  • Limiting large meetings, gatherings (including social gatherings), or events;
  • Postponing non-essential meetings or transitioning them to a virtual format;
  • Limiting occupancy in public or private gathering areas;
  • Reducing campus density through remote learning, teleworking, and staggered work schedules;
  • Limiting the amount of time spent eating or drinking in common spaces, and maintaining six feet of physical distance when eating or drinking in a group setting;
  • Limiting, postponing, or canceling social activities; and
  • Keep social gatherings small, meet outdoors when possible, and always wear a mask and remain six feet apart.

Monitor Your Health

Monitor your Health

The COVID-19 Community Standards symptom list (see below) should be monitored daily.

Undergraduate students who are on-campus, attending in-person classes or coming to campus must monitor your symptoms daily. Undergraduate students studying remotely are also expected to monitor your symptoms daily. If you answer yes to any of these symptoms, immediately contact Campus Health.

Graduate, professional and post-doctoral students are expected to monitor your symptoms daily. If you answer yes to any of these symptoms, immediately contact Campus Health.

Faculty and staff are expected to monitor your symptoms daily before reporting to work on campus by using the UEOHC Covid-19 Wellness Check tool. If you answer yes to any of these symptoms, you will be contacted.

Faculty and staff working remotely may also monitor your symptoms using the UEOHC Covid-19 Wellness Check tool. If you answer yes to any of these symptoms, you will be contacted.

COVID-19 Community Standards symptom list

  • Have you had recent close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Do you have new muscle aches not related to another medical condition or another specific activity (e.g., due to physical exercise)?
  • Do you feel like you may have a temperature of greater than 100.0°F?
  • Do you have sore throat, runny nose and/or congestion not related to another medical condition (e.g., allergies)?
  • Do you have a new or worsening cough that is not related to another medical condition?
  • Do you have shortness of breath that is not attributable to another medical condition?
  • Do you have recent (<5 days) loss of smell and/or taste?
  • Do you have new onset of vomiting or diarrhea not related to another medical condition?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, do not attend class, work or other in-person campus activities and contact your medical provider.  

Students can access Campus Health at 919-966-2281 or via the Healthy Heels Patient Portal.

Employees can check in using the COVID-19 Wellness Check or contact University Employee Occupational Health Clinic (UEOHC) at 919-966-9119.

Comply with Testing, Tracing and Quarantine/Isolation Requirements 

Comply with Testing, Tracing and Quarantine/Isolation Requirements

Asymptomatic Testing: Carolina Together Testing Program

The Carolina Together Testing Program has been established for the Spring 2021 semester to provide prior to arrival testing for students, re-entry to campus testing and regular asymptomatic evaluation testing. Based on the environment on campus, the requirements of the testing program may change. All students, faculty and staff must participate in the Carolina Together Testing Program in the current manner and frequency communicated by the University.

Visit the Carolina Together Testing Program webpage for more information, including how often you should be tested and where to get tested.

Symptomatic and Close Contact Testing

If you have identified symptoms through regular health monitoring, you should visit a symptomatic testing center. For students, you should visit Campus Health. For faculty and staff, you should contact University Employee Occupational Health Clinic (UEOHC) or your health care provider.


COVID-19 Contact Tracing

All students, faculty and staff are required to participate in COVID-19 contact tracing, including reporting positive tests, providing information on potential close contacts, responding to outreach from contact tracing staff or volunteers and updating your contact information in ConnectCarolina. Refusing or failing to participate in contact tracing is grounds for disciplinary action.

Campus Health, with guidance from the local Health Department, conducts close contact tracing when students and post-doctoral fellows test positive for COVID-19. Your name and information will not be shared and remains confidential.

Campus Health utilizes the following definition of a close contact:

Any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative time of 15 minutes starting from 2 days before symptom onset for symptomatic individuals and 2 days prior to positive specimen collection for asymptomatic individuals.

This means that individuals who maintain at least 6 feet physical separation in a classroom or congregate setting will typically not be considered a close contact.

The University notifies the local health department with the current local residence information for any individual who tests positive. This residence information is determined by where the student, faculty or staff member is living at the time the positive test occurs.

If you test positive at an off-campus location, you are required to notify Campus Health (students and post-docs) or the Employee Occupational Health Clinic (staff and faculty) of the positive test.

In order to support the health and well-being of all members of the community, all students, staff and faculty are required to provide complete and accurate information regarding potential close contacts. Providing willfully incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading information to University staff or the local health department puts the health of the campus community at risk and is grounds for disciplinary action. Information obtained during the COVID testing and/or contact tracing process will be used for the purpose of providing health support to individuals who have potentially been exposed to the virus and will only be disclosed as required or permitted by law. Names of those who have tested positive for the virus are not shared with potential close contacts.

In addition, if you receive outreach from University or county health contact tracing staff or volunteers, you are required to take follow-up steps including entering quarantine or isolation and taking a COVID-19 test as directed.

All students, staff, and faculty are required to update ConnectCarolina with your current and accurate contact information, including a local address, and to maintain your contact information in a timely manner.

Quarantine and Isolation

Isolation is required for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are presumed to have it based on symptoms.

Quarantine is required for those who have been exposed to the virus (e.g., close contact), but not yet diagnosed.

Both isolation and quarantine mean staying physically apart from others to prevent the spread of infection.

The Orange County Health Department sets the amount of time recommended for quarantine for students, faculty and staff.

Students who are asked to isolate or quarantine (whether on- or off-campus) will be immediately contacted by Campus Health. Campus Health will regularly communicate with students and assist in coordinating testing, contact tracing and other services as needed. Student Affairs staff will provide additional assistance to all students in quarantine and isolation including outreach, engagement opportunities and academic support. Residence hall rooms (and associated meal delivery) have been reserved to support on-campus students requiring quarantine or isolation. Most students living in off-campus locations will have the flexibility to isolate or quarantine in your existing living space.

Employees who require isolation and quarantine should consult with EHS/UEOHC before returning to work. Additional information may be found at the EHS website.

Quarantine and isolation are important components of limiting the spread of COVID-19 to others. Students, staff, and faculty should consult with and follow the advice of your medical provider and avoid contact with others whenever directed to do so. Failure to comply with directives to quarantine or isolate may result in administrative or disciplinary action.

For more information, visit the Carolina Together Quarantine and Isolation page.

Wash Your Hands

washing hands.Wash your hands.

Remember to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

You are strongly encouraged to wash your hands after contacting high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, elevator buttons and photocopiers. Always wash your hands before and after handling a face mask.  Avoid touching your face, especially after coming into contact with high-touch 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.

Follow Immunization Recommendations

Follow Immunization Recommendations

All members of the UNC community are strongly encouraged (and, in some instances, may be required) to obtain immunizations that are covered by most health plans (including student health plans), including the annual flu shot.

An annual flu shot renders individuals less likely to get sick from influenza and to expose others. The symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are often similar, but it is possible to have both conditions simultaneously. This has the potential to place an individual at substantially higher medical risk and further strains the resources of local health care systems.


Compliance and Enforcement 

Compliance and Enforcement

The University’s COVID-19 Community Standards set the expectations and requirements of students, faculty and staff to engage collectively in health and safety measures that help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our campus and local community members. Your commitment to comply with these mandatory community standards – and to lead by example – is important to helping create a healthy and safe community.

We support our students, faculty and staff in knowing and following our COVID-19 Community Standards through education, enforcement and compliance. Community responsibility is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19, our individual actions affect us all collectively. To uphold its commitment to protect the campus community, the University is upholding these Community Standards through consistent and equitable enforcement processes.

For students, compliance with the COVID-19 Community Standards is a condition of continued enrollment. Failure to comply places other members of the community at risk and may result in administrative or disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, restriction on access to or use of University facilities, removal from University housing, disenrollment from one or more in-person courses, transition to remote-only instruction, dismissal from the University and/or other interventions necessary to effect compliance and protect the well-being of the campus community.

For student organizations, failure to comply may result in restriction on access to or use of University facilities, loss of funding, restrictions on activities and/or suspension or loss of University recognition. The University may also pursue additional disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University policies, including the UNC Honor Code. The University’s COVID-19 Administrative Process is posted on the Office of Student Conduct website.

The University is sharing a Community Standards Conduct Summary on a quarterly basis that summarizes our community standards referrals for violations and outcomes on our Carolina Together website. We will do this in a way that balances our desire for transparency with ensuring that individuals’ privacy rights aren’t compromised.

State and Local Requirements

In addition to the foregoing, all students, faculty and staff are expected to know and comply with all recommendations and requirements of the state and municipal authorities in locations where they study, live or work (e.g., directives of the State of North Carolina, Orange County, and the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro).





Privacy Statement Summary

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has implemented the Carolina Together Testing Program to protect students, faculty, and staff returning to campus. Under the Program, individuals returning to campus who are participating in in-person employment, clinical, educational or other activities on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus are required to comply with measures that may include daily health checks, training, regular COVID-19 symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation. The groups of individuals required to participate in regular testing and frequency of those testing requirements is available on the Carolina Together Testing Program webpage. Records related to completion of these measures will be collected and maintained to manage the Program and meet state requirements. We respect your privacy and are committed to providing a transparent notice of our privacy practices describing the steps the University will take to protect the privacy of Program information while ensuring the health and safety of the UNC-Chapel Hill community.


Additional COVID-19 Community Standards Resources

Carolina Housing

Visit the Carolina Housing for Spring 2021 Housing Updates and Housing and Move-In FAQs.


The UNC-Chapel Hill COVID-19 Dashboard helps us track and analyze the impact of COVID-19 on the overall health of our campus community and our ability to appropriately respond to change during these unprecedented times. The dashboard is updated daily Monday – Friday and pulls data from multiple sources to create a comprehensive illustration of health trends and operational capacities across campus, as well as stay updated on COVID-19 data relevant to campus, local and state communities.