Publisher's note: The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal is a nonprofit institute dedicated to improving higher education in North Carolina and the nation. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, it has been an independent 501(c)(3) organization since 2003. It was known as the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy until early January 2017.
The author of this post is Nicole Divers.
With campus scheduled to reopen in the fall, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has released a preliminary road-map
outlining how they plan to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Although the plan is not yet finalized, it covers four key aspects of university activity: fall schedule, class structure, health and safety, and campus operations.
In anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19, UNC has implemented a new academic schedule. The new schedule starts and ends the semester earlier with classes beginning on August 10 and finals wrapping up by November 24. Additionally, fall break, which was originally October 15-16, will be eliminated. However, Labor Day (September 7) and University Day (October 12) will still be observed.
UNC will use on-campus and off-campus instruction for fall classes. Individual college and departments heads will choose among four basic class structures:
- Face-to-Face/hybrid: These courses will have in-person lectures, but may also include an online component.
- HyFlex: These courses will meet in-person and have a remote option. Students may also rotate between in-person and remote lectures so all students have an equal opportunity to receive in-person instruction.
- Remote and recitation: These courses will be taught remotely and include a recitation (a subgroup of students to discuss lectures and readings, led by a teaching assistant). The recitation may be a mix of in-person and remote.
- Remote only: These courses will be taught entirely remotely.
In addition to the varied delivery method options, many colleges and schools within UNC have taken extra precautions, such as reconfiguring classrooms so that smaller classes meet in larger rooms, to allow for social distancing for those attending in-person classes.
Health and Safety
To limit the virus's spread, UNC has laid out health and safety precautions that everyone on campus is expected to follow. These precautions include frequent hand washing, social distancing, and sanitizing surfaces. Students and faculty will also be expected to wear a face mask while in public. Student organizations and other groups will not be allowed to gather in numbers that exceed the limit set by state or local guidance.
UNC's dining halls, Lenoir and Chase, will remain open to serve students with a fall meal plan. This includes Mainstreet at Bottom of Lenoir which is ordinarily open to students without a meal plan. Dining halls will also limit the amount of seating available to facilitate social distancing. All other Carolina Dining Services facilities will remain open.
Dorms will operate at full capacity and students will not be required to wear masks inside their dorm rooms. There will be a number of rooms reserved for students with immunocompromised conditions as approved by Accessibility Resources and Services.
Other UNC System schools are taking similar precautions. All campuses will be encouraging students and faculty to get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine themselves if they test positive. Many campuses have announced amended fall schedules that start and end earlier. The exception to this is UNC Charlotte which will start classes later on September 7 to avoid crowds from the Republican National Convention that is scheduled in Charlotte.
Nicole Divers is a Martin Center intern and a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.