THE UNC SYSTEM CONTRIBUTES TO COMBATING COVID-19

The UNC System’s response to COVID-19 offers a vivid reminder that higher education is about much more than delivering information. Collectively, our institutions serve North Carolina through instruction, research, and service. The UNC System’s contributions to the state’s efforts to combat this pandemic underscore the long-term value of supporting this mission.

Healthcare workers say thankyou (Hero Image)
Local hospital workers thanking UNC Charlotte for their 3-D printed face masks.

Instruction

In addition to more than 14,000 faculty moving more than 50,000 university courses online and teaching remotely, System faculty and IT experts are helping teachers at every level design and deliver effective online course materials. Our educator prep programs are helping families adapt to the sudden need to homeschool.

School's closed (Hero Image)
UNC-TV and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction are partnering to provide free, statewide access to critical K-12 educational content.

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UNC-Chapel Hill has waived tuition and fees for its online nurse refresher program to help NC registered nurses get back into the field to address the surge in the state’s need for health care personnel caused by COVID-19.
UNC-Chapel Hill Waives Tuition and Fees for Online Nurse Refresher Program, UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and NIH research fellow Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett leads a team that is taking a COVID-19 vaccine to clinical trials.
Working on Coronavirus Vaccine Trials, Kizzmekia Corbett is ‘Not Your Average’ Scientist, NBC News

UNC-TV and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction are partnering to provide free, statewide access to critical K-12 educational content. 
North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction partners with public TV as method to teach students, 13 News Now

The UNC System has launched a digital resource on its website to assist faculty who need to move classes online. These materials are freely available to help faculty at any institution, anywhere in the world, adjust to the challenges of teaching remotely.
A System-Wide Solution To Online Education: Look To North Carolina, Forbes

Homeschooling (Hero Image)

UNC Greensboro faculty have created materials to help parents homeschool their children while stay-at-home protocols are in place.

UNC Greensboro’s Healthy Relationships Initiative and the School of Education Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education faculty have created and curated materials to help parents homeschool their children while stay-at-home protocols are in place.
Suddenly Homeschooling, UNC Greensboro

East Carolina University is helping students of all ages complete the 2019-20 academic year. The university has established several locations in its service area to provide internet access to students from ECU and students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
ECU Wi-Fi for college and K-12 students near campus, WITN

UNC Greensboro Professor of Communication Studies Roy Schwartzman created a Facebook support group for instructors moving classes online. Pandemic Pedagogy now has almost 30,000 members from around the world, including university and community-college instructors, K-12 teachers, IT professionals, parents now teaching their children at home, and even students.
Pandemic Pedagogy!, Higher Ed Works 

Through a partnership with HathiTrust Digital Services, UNC Libraries now has access to many free online resources. Ordinarily these research resources and literary pleasures are copyrighted, but, during the pandemic, they are free to every scholar and curious reader.
Get Your Quarantine Reading Fix: UNC Libraries Bring Free Resources Online, The Daily Tar Heel

Fayetteville State University faculty and teacher candidates have used remote technologies to tutor elementary grade students enrolled in the College of Education’s Reading Clinic.
FSU’s Reading Clinic Serves Students Despite COVID-19, FSU

UNC Asheville students use online tools to help area high school students stay on track toward college despite COVID disruptions.
Helping Kids Make the Transition—UNC Asheville Students Use Virtual Tools to Provide Real Help for Asheville High, SILSA and Asheville Middle School AVID Students, UNC Asheville

research

Our institutions are conducting vital research that has already helped us understand and mitigate the danger this virus presents. System universities have developed tests and potential treatments for COVID-19 and other future pandemics.

Charts (Feature Image)
NC State’s dashboard predicts the flattening in a region’s outbreak curve for both confirmed COVID-19 cases and for COVID-19 fatalities.

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Carolina is the highest ranked U.S. university in the world for coronavirus research, according to a Microsoft Academic rating system based on how often other researchers cite articles written by the university’s faculty members.
UNC-CH Ranks as a World Leader in COVID-19 Research – Here’s Why, WRAL

UNC School of Medicine is providing critical discovery and diagnostic research and is also involved in clinical studies, all focused on understanding the biology, transmission, and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
Meet UNC School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Research Heroes, The Well

Clinical microbiology experts at the UNC Medical Center and UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill have developed a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnostic test based on the World Health Organization (WHO) assay.
UNC Health Begins COVID-19 Testing at UNC Medical Center, UNC Health Newsroom

The federal coronavirus task force announced, on April 29, positive clinical trial results for remdesivir, a treatment that originated in labs at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Breakthrough Treatment Innovated at UNC Proves Effective Against COVID-19, WBTV

Physicians from East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health are performing a clinical procedure that uses antibodies from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
ECU, Vidant Conducting COVID-19 Antibody Clinical Procedure, ECU

A team from East Carolina University and Vidant Health developed and implemented processes for decontaminating and reusing personal protective equipment (PPE), especially N95 masks.
ECU, Vidant team develop process to decontaminate, reuse personal protective equipment, The Daily Reflector

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Eshelman Institute for Innovation have launched the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI), a global organization aimed at discovering and developing drugs to put “on the shelf” for clinical trial testing in anticipation of future viral pandemics.
As the World Battles Coronavirus, UNC is Preparing for the Next Pandemic, Triangle Biz Journal

NC State analytics experts Christopher Healey and Susan Simmons have created a new visualization dashboard that allows users to compare COVID-19 data by region and to view predictions on when regions may “flatten the curve,” or show decreases in COVID-19 cases.
Visualization Tool Tracks COVID-19, NC State

The NC Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University, along with Duke University, to study how the disease is spreading in North Carolina.
COVID-19NC: Gov. Cooper Announces Study Partnership With UNC, ECU & Duke, Blue Ridge Radio

Research underway at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis is shedding light on racial disparities in healthcare and how this impacts COVID-19 treatment.
HOPE Program Studies Racial Disparities, WSOCTV

UNC Charlotte researchers have published a study that uses space-time statistics to track clusters of COVID-19 down to the county level. The publication is believed to be the first geographic study to use this statistical tracking method and was one of the first studies published by geographers studying COVID-19.
Geographers’ COVID-19 Study Offers Way to Detect, Monitor Clusters, UNC Charlotte

As part of an ongoing series of video resources, students in Appalachian State University’s Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management (IOHRM) program consider how the field of human resources may help the manufacturing industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students share how human resources may support manufacturing during COVID-19, Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University faculty have convened to form interdisciplinary research clusters focused on exploring solutions to COVID-19-related issues.
App State Researchers Form Interdisciplinary Clusters to Address COVID-19 Topics, Watauga Democrat

Faculty and staff members in the UNCW College of Health and Human Services are conducting research related to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on leaders, health care workers, educators, students and members of the community. 
CHHS Faculty Lead Research Related to COVID-19 and Social Distancing, UNC Wilmington

Service

Service to the surrounding communities takes many forms at our institutions – stocking food banks for students facing hardships; designing, creating, and donating protective equipment to keep medical professionals safe; and providing mental health resources to alleviate stress. Our institutions distribute valuable, reliable information to the public and provide many services remotely or through social distancing protocols to help North Carolinians maintain general wellbeing while they are isolated at home.

ROTC Military volunteers (Feature Image)
Ft. Bragg parachute riggers are sewing 100,000 masks for Ft. Bragg personnel and the community with filtration fabric donated to the Army by NC State.

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ECSU, NC State, UNC Charlotte, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Western Carolina University makerspaces are all generating protective equipment for healthcare workers.
ECSU Tech Team Produces 3d-Printed Face Shields, The Daily Advance
NC State Uses 3D Printers to Make Face Shields for WakeMed, NC State
Pitching In for Protection Update: 3-D Printing Expands to Mass Manufacturing Effort, UNC Charlotte
Med Students Are Producing PPE for Rural Clinics in North Carolina, Vice News
WCU Engineering College Using 3D Printers to Make Face Shields for COVID-19 Fight, WRAL

NC State has donated filtration fabric to the Army to make face masks. So far, the university has sent more than 4,700 meters to Ft. Bragg, where parachute riggers are sewing 100,000 masks for Ft. Bragg personnel and the community. NC State plans to send 1,000 meters per week to continue production for more Army personnel.
Fort Bragg soldiers make masks to fight coronavirus pandemic, ABC News

UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke students have collaborated to design and produce protective equipment for healthcare workers.
UNC med students team with Duke, NCSU to make face shields for healthcare workers, WRAL Techwire
UNC Medical Students Make Face Shields for Healthcare Workers, UNC Health Newsroom

The UNC Convalescent Plasma Task Force is collecting plasma from donors recovering from COVID-19 to treat those patients who are critically ill.
UNC Task Force Begins Collecting Plasma for Treatment, WRAL

ECU Physicians, the medical practice of the Brody School of Medicine, is offering virtual visits for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even to those who are not ECU Physicians patients or who do not have health insurance. 
ECU Physicians offers virtual visits to community in response to COVID-19, East Carolina University

An ECSU emergency management professor is working with a national task force on the frontlines of COVID-19 outbreak in Alabama and Georgia.
ECSU Emergency Management Professor Working with National Task Force on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Outbreak, Elizabeth City State University

Members of North Carolina Central University’s The Health Equity, Environment and Population Health program (HOPE) are providing epidemiology assistance and other critical services to underfunded and understaffed health facilities in Cabarrus, Anson, and Rowan counties.
NCCU Health Disparities Team Assists NC Communities Facing COVID-19, North Carolina Central University

UNC Charlotte’s respiratory therapy program is “one of the most advanced in the country.” Now its students are on the frontlines of North Carolina’s COVID-19 response.  
Respiratory therapy students aiding coronavirus response, WCNC

Engineers at Western Carolina University’s Rapid Center helped Catawba Valley Health System quickly update its back-up supply of powered air purifying respirators, used by healthcare staff who cannot be properly fitted with the standard N-95 mask.
Collaborative innovation drives solutions in Catawba County, WCU

Volunteers from UNC Asheville and the Asheville community are collaborating to fabricate and donate personal protective equipment to health care providers in Asheville and beyond to help protect against spread of COVID-19.
Community Coming Together to Curtail COVID’s Spread, UNC Asheville

Faculty and staff across NC State’s campus organized a day of giving back, donating dozens of boxes of personal protective equipment to area hospitals.
NC State Collects Protective Gear for Hospitals, NC State University

Facing a potential shortage of hand sanitizer, a physician and a pharmacist from the Brody School of Medicine partnered with 1000 Piers gin distillery in Washington, N.C. to produce enough sanitizer, from an FDA-approved recipe, to not only cover ECU’s immediate needs, but to also provide hand sanitizer to Greenville’s emergency homeless shelter and other public agencies and nonprofits.
Sourcing Sanitizer, ECU

Western North Carolina healthcare workers received 6,000 medical grade masks, compliments of two Chinese professors at Western Carolina University, along with an accounting student and WCU employee.
WCU’s Chinese Connections Provide Protective Gear for Medical Workers, The Biltmore Beacon

With coronavirus putting restrictions on face-to face-contact, Western Carolina nurses in a primary care residency and Fellows program are helping low-income seniors, especially, by phone.
WCU nursing students pivot to doing phone-checks on local seniors, WLOS

UNC School of Medicine students across campuses are organizing multiple volunteer projects to help hospitals safely and effectively combat COVID-19. From making PPE to organizing child care, these students are doing whatever they can to make a difference.
SOM Students Rally to Help Health Care Workers through the Fight Against COVID-19, UNC Health Newsroom

Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T has established a COVID-19 resources site to help North Carolinians cope with the physical and emotional stress of stay-at-home protocols.
Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T Stands Up COVID-19 Resources Site, Yes! Weekly

NC State’s Department of Veterinary Medicine is offering curbside service for North Carolina’s four-legged residents.
‘The Best Friends You’ve Got’: CVM Rallies to Keep Pets, Staff Safe During Pandemic, NC State News

NC State created a resource to make the university’s research expertise easily accessible to national and international media outlets.
NC State Experts on COVID-19, NC State News

ECU Volunteers (Hero Image)
ECU’s Purple Pantry distributed nearly 2,000 pounds of food in response to COVID-19. 

On-campus food banks and other resources have assisted students in need at every level.
ECU raises nearly $50K to help students affected by coronavirus, East Carolina University
Feed the Pack Food Pantry Rallies to Stay Open, NC State University
UNC Fraternity Donates $17,000 in Dues to Feed Kids After COVID-19 Closes Schools, ABC11
UNCW Hawk’s Harvest Student Food Pantry Continues Efforts During COVID-19 Pandemic, UNC Wilmington

The UNC-Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry is offering teledentistry services through a virtual helpline to patients and oral health care providers across the state.
Virtual Oral Health, UNC-Chapel Hill

WSSU Mobile Clinic (Hero Image)
One of Winston-Salem State’s mobile health clinics has been loaned to Novant Health for use as a testing facility for COVID-19. WSSU is providing the vehicle and the driver.

UNC Greensboro’s Department of Communication Studies and LEAP Project have partnered with several Guilford County organizations – including Guilford County Schools, the Weaver Foundation, the Greater High Point Food Alliance, the Greensboro Community Food Task Force, and Guilford Education Alliance – during this COVID-19 crisis to create a list of food resources for Greater Greensboro and Greater High Point.
Food Resources, UNC Greensboro 

A partnership between UNCG’s Office of Research & Engagement and NC Fusion Foundation helps area immigrant families navigate COVID-related challenges.
UNCG Partnership Helps Area Immigrant Families During COVID-19, UNCG

UNC Health has created a new COVID-19 Response Fund to provide for emerging needs in the immediate term. This fund will provide support to those who need it most urgently: patients and their families, its health care team, researchers, and students.
COVID-19 Response Fund, UNC Health

COVID-19 cut short Western Carolina University and Smokey Mountain Elementary School’s volunteer reading project “Book Buddies,” but The Honors College donated unused funds to support elementary school students facing food insecurity.
Honors College Reading Project Donates to Local School Meals Program, WCU

Driving economic growth

State and national leaders have turned to UNC System expertise to help “flatten the curve” and get our economy back up to speed in a safe, timely manner. Our institutions are assisting businesses – agribusiness, small businesses, and entrepreneurs – to develop plans to weather the pandemic’s economic fallout.

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UNC Asheville’s Family Business Forum, Johnson Price Sprinkle, and Asheville’s Small Business and Technology Development Center have collaborated to help small businesses survive in the midst of the COVID-19 economic fallout.
UNC Asheville offers small business info session regarding COVID-19 relief, Mountain Xpress

ECU’s Small Business and Technology Development Center has been hosting “Small Businesses Coping with COVID-19,” a series of free virtual town halls for eastern North Carolina small business owners.
ECU hosting virtual town hall for small business owners, Washington Daily News

NC State has advised entrepreneurs during the present crisis.
Keeping Your Entrepreneurial Dream Alive During a Crisis, NC State

NC State Extension provides resources and a daily COVID-19 update to assist farmers in the state with everything from food safety practices to supporting the agribusiness economy.
COVID-19 Farmers Update, NC State Extension

These aren’t isolated stories. Across the UNC System, faculty, students, and staff are leading the charge against COVID-19. This growing list of stories exemplifies why the institutions of the UNC System are individually remarkable and collectively extraordinary.