University Guideline on Gatherings and Events

Reason for Guideline

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to promoting the health and safety of all students, staff and faculty, as well as guests and visitors to our campus. Our ability to successfully provide a residential, in-person educational experience depends upon each member of the University community adhering to guidelines adopted for our collective health and safety. Each person has a responsibility to know and act in accordance with all applicable University guidelines and policies, as referenced in the  University’s Community Standards.

Public health and infectious disease experts advise that limiting face-to-face contact and avoiding large groups is critical to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Participation in large gatherings or events may have public health impacts for members of the campus and local community. As a result, this guideline addresses gatherings and events both on- and off-campus.

Guideline Statement

All students, student organizations, staff, faculty, and visitors are expected to abstain from or, if permitted limit the size of formal and informal gatherings and events as set forth in this guideline.


All gatherings or events on-campus, formal or informal, are currently prohibited.

The limit on gatherings 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 limit on gatherings must be approved, in advance, by the Provost. Any request for an exception must include a description of the proposed gathering or event. The request must be submitted by the senior-level administrator of the unit (e.g. Dean, Director, Vice Chancellor). Any events granted an exception under this guideline must be held outdoors. No more than 25 people may attend the event at any one time. The submittal must include a plan for requiring masks and for assuring six-foot physical distancing for participants. Only University entities and units may apply for exceptions at this time. Registered Student Organizations may submit requests through the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.


Orange County has issued a public health order imposing a 10-person limit on gatherings indoors and a 25-person limit on gatherings outdoors. All students, student organizations, staff, and faculty are expected to comply with these restrictions for events and gatherings occurring in Orange County and should comply with any local restrictions for events occurring in different counties. Regardless of county, the State of North Carolina has a state-wide 25-person limit for indoor events and 50-person limit for outdoor events.

All participants in any off-campus gathering should also comply with state and local ordinances regarding face masks and physical distancing.  To limit the size of gatherings, individuals and organizations should consider any or all of the following:

  • Limiting large meetings, gatherings (including social gatherings), or events;
  • Postponing non-essential meetings or transitioning them to a virtual format;
  • Removing seats from common or shared spaces such as classrooms, meeting rooms, and offices;
  • Limiting occupancy in public or private gathering areas;
  • Reducing campus density through remote learning, teleworking, and staggered work schedules; and
  • Limiting, postponing, or canceling social activities.

Relation to Governmental Policies

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).

Duration of Guideline

This guideline is effective when published in the Roadmap and will remain in effect indefinitely until withdrawn or modified as guided by appropriate health officials.

Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance with this guideline and other measures adopted in furtherance of campus health and safety are integral to the University’s ability to promote a safe and healthy environment for all members of the University community and to provide an effective in-person educational experience. As such, except as otherwise provided herein, all provisions of this guideline are mandatory.

The University encourages all members of the University community to recognize the demonstrated public health benefits of limiting person-to-person contact and avoiding large groups to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. To assist in achieving universal compliance, the University will provide ongoing communication and education regarding its Community Standards and guidelines. For students, compliance with this guideline both on campus and off-campus is a condition of continued in-person enrollment.  Failure to comply with this guideline may result in administrative 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 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, and/or loss of University recognition. In the case of willful failure to comply with the provisions of this guideline and/or repeated violations, the University may pursue additional disciplinary actions in accordance with relevant University policies.

Last Updated September 17, 2020