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

The Summer 2021 COVID-19 Community Standards in effect as of May 17 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

You must wear a face mask at all times while inside any University building. In addition, you must follow the COVID-19 Community Standards for physical distancing in all University buildings.

In most situations, you are not required to wear a face mask while outdoors on campus. If you are in a group that exceeds the University’s events or gatherings limits, a face mask is required. A face mask is recommended 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 while inside a University building. If you have a question, always check for posted signs and instructions

  • 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 with the door closed. 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 on University property.
  • While exercising in certain University facilities: Unless otherwise directed or noted by a statewide guideline, when exercising in certain University recreation facilities 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)

Classroom Spaces 

Faculty and students participating in in-person Maymester or summer courses should remain six feet apart and must wear a face mask while indoors. In-person classrooms have been configured to provide a minimum of six feet of space between participants. 

Office, Research and other non-classroom spaces 

You must wear a face mask while inside any University building. The general expectation is that you should remain six feet apart while indoors unless otherwise specified. Physical distancing across buildings and/or units may vary based upon facility infrastructure and/or department-specific operational needs. General information on operation specific information will be posted on the Carolina Together website. Building managers and supervisors will work with Facilities Services and Environment, Health and Safety to determine the appropriate arrangement for their Summer operational needs and for planning for the fall. 

Signs, barriers, or other markers are displayed or erected throughout campus to remind individuals to observe each University building’s physical distancing requirements, and general information will be published on the Carolina Together website. 


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 comply with physical distancing standards. The University recommends maintaining six feet of physical distance, even when outdoors, when gathering in large groups. 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 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 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors regardless of location, unless otherwise provided. Even within these limits, you must wear a mask and comply with physical distancing standards.

The limit of 100 people indoors or 200 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. For more information, visit the section on Events and Gatherings on the Carolina Together website.


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.

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. These orders are subject to frequent change. Students, student organizations, staff and faculty are responsible for being aware and understanding the current limits.

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

You should monitor the COVID-19 Community Standards symptom list (see below) daily.

All members of the Carolina community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors who are coming to campus should check the COVID-19 symptom list first. If you answer yes to any of these symptoms, immediately contact Campus Health or your health care provider and do not come to campus:

  • 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.



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 provides 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. Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccination are still subject to contact tracing guidelines, although they may not be subject to quarantine or isolation guidelines (see below).

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 COVID-19 testing and/or the 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.

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.

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

If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination and you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you are not required to quarantine or get tested unless you have symptoms. Please note that if you live in a group setting (like Carolina Housing, Greek housing, or a residence with 10 or more occupants) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

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 their 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 their 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

Band-aid graphic

Follow Immunization Recommendations

All members of the UNC community are strongly encouraged to obtain one of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations. Once you’ve been vaccinated, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to let UNC-Chapel Hill know they have received one or both doses of an FDA-authorized vaccine using the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification form.

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.


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.

To uphold its commitment to protect the campus community, the University is administering these Community Standards through consistent and equitable enforcement processes. For students and student organizations, the University’s COVID-19 Administrative Process is posted on the Office of Student Conduct website. For staff and faculty, non-compliance with Community Standards may be addressed through applicable HR policies.

The University shares key data that summarizes our Community Standards referrals for violations and outcomes on our Carolina Together website.

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 current updates including 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.