From Staff Reports
UNC will have students back on campus, but only in single dorm rooms for the spring semester, campus officials say. Students, faculty and staff also will be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus and will be required to participate in regular testing for the coronavirus throughout the spring semester.
In a communique to the university community, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Bob Blouin announced that students additionally will have the option to take some in-person classes in the spring semester, whose start has already been delayed by nearly two weeks.
“Our decisions on in-person and remote courses for the spring are fundamentally linked with our choices regarding on-campus residency and testing,” Guskiewicz and Blouin wrote.
In the email, the administrators acknowledged that “the upcoming spring semester will continue to be a different experience for the Carolina community. But we have learned important lessons from our experiences and those of our peer universities.
“We have listened very carefully to the opinions and advice offered by our students, faculty and other key constituencies. Through that feedback, we know it will be important to continue to provide flexibility and options to ensure a quality Carolina experience.”
For the spring, UNC expects about 3,500 students to live in residence halls and in Granville Towers, which is about 2,000 more than the current residential population — but significantly less than the pre-pandemic standard. The university also will add more quarantine and isolation spaces to provide “appropriate care and support resources in those locations, in compliance with public health guidelines.”
Some courses will be taught at a specific time where every student attends virtually and others will use pre-recorded lectures with assignments posted and turned in online. The majority of classes with 35 or more students will be remote, but some courses with up to 50 students may be offered in-person.
The university, Guskiewicz and Blouin said, could change its plans as the coronavirus continues to spread. It did so at the beginning of the fall semester, when a series of virus outbreaks caused UNC to pivot to remote-only classes and to “de-densify” on-campus housing.
“We are prepared to modify our approach in order to support our community based upon the prevailing trends,” the administrators wrote. “We will continue to work closely with our campus partners to discuss and communicate any additional changes or accommodations given the circumstances we may be facing in early to mid-January.”