University Guideline on Physical Distancing

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 our  Community Standards.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Engaging in physical distancing – also called social distancing – means maintaining space between yourself and other people outside of your immediate household. Physical distancing means keeping at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) between yourself and another person. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick or exhibit symptoms, it is important to maintain appropriate physical distancing whenever possible. Physical distancing is most effective when used in combination with other risk mitigation strategies such as wearing an appropriate face covering and engaging in frequent hand hygiene. For more information, see the CDC guidance on social distancing.

Guideline Statement 

All students, staff, faculty, and visitors are expected to maintain a physical distance from other individuals of at least six feet to the greatest extent possible. Signs, barriers, or other markers will be displayed or erected throughout campus to remind individuals to consistently observe physical distancing.

Indoor Spaces 

All students, staff, faculty, and visitors are expected to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from others while inside a University building in addition to wearing an appropriate face covering or mask. Some University buildings may have alternative or additional facility-specific requirements.

Most public or common indoor spaces such as lobbies, restrooms, elevators, hallways, stairwells, classrooms, and meeting rooms will have specific, required occupancy limits, modifications to traffic patterns and/or prescribed seating configurations.

Students living in on-campus residence halls or in Granville Towers are not required to maintain a six-foot physical distance from an individual occupying the same residence hall room.

Outdoor Spaces 

All students, staff, faculty, and visitors are expected to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from others while outside on University property. If physical distancing cannot be maintained while outside, an appropriate face covering or mask must be worn.

Depending on the context and location, physical distancing may be promoted or achieved in a variety of ways:

  • Limiting large meetings, 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 areas such as classrooms, dining halls, building lobbies, retail spaces, recreation facilities, and public restrooms;
  • Modifying circulation patterns in both indoor and outdoor spaces; and
  • Reducing campus density through remote learning, teleworking, and staggered work schedules.

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 engaging in physical distancing 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 is a condition of continued in-perosn 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. 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.