Coronavirus Resource center

We understand this is a stressful time for many in our community, and we are taking the necessary steps to help reduce the spread of the virus. We appreciate our entire UNC System community’s participation in helping us reduce the spread.

REcent Messages

The UNC System and its constituent institutions are working closely with local, state, and federal health authorities to monitor developments, coordinate and share information, and provide guidance regarding COVID-19. 

Message from UNC System President Peter Hans

Published in the Charlotte Observer, January 14, 2021

Last month, just before the holidays, I spent time listening to student body presidents from all of our state’s public universities. We’ve held these Zoom sessions regularly since the start of the fall semester, so I’ve heard firsthand how students are managing through the challenges of the pandemic.

Their experience mirrors what so many of us have felt these past ten months — a wish that things were different, matched by the resolve to work toward better days.

That perseverance will continue into the spring semester. Since the start of the pandemic, North Carolina’s public universities have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep serving students. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t always gone smoothly. But thanks to dedicated work by faculty, staff, and health officials, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians have continued making progress toward their educational goals.

Campus leaders across the state are taking a cautious, flexible approach to the weeks ahead. Some will open fully online to start the semester, with plans to bring more students back to campus as conditions improve. Others will open with a mix of online and in-person learning, guided by the lessons learned over the past several months.

There will be widespread reentry testing for students. We’ll keep dorm occupancy limited; keep classrooms safely spaced out; and keep encouraging students to follow health guidelines, as the vast majority did in the fall. We’ll also make quick adjustments as conditions change, following the latest science, the advice of federal and state authorities and the guidance of our own experts in public health.

UNC System schools made it through the fall semester with a mix of online and in-person learning. Even campuses without in-person teaching kept open vital services, like dorms and counseling, to support students who needed them.

That flexible approach reflects the complicated reality of the communities we serve. Like public schools, we educate students from vastly different backgrounds and in very different life circumstances. Some students are able to manage online classes with reliable internet connections and a safe, quiet place to learn at home. For others, a dorm may be the most stable and supportive place they’ve ever lived, and campus services provide a lifeline that isn’t available anywhere else.

Closing a public university and waiting for the pandemic to end were never an option. Students’ lives can’t be put on indefinite hold, and we know from decades of research that interrupting college harms vulnerable students the most. Across the county, we’ve seen alarming data about declining enrollment among low-income, minority, and rural students — people whose lives will be permanently damaged by the loss of educational opportunity.

Our state can be rightly proud that we’ve kept faith with this generation of students, welcoming record enrollment last fall and doing extraordinary work to keep students on track. From professors to counselors to building staff, the public servants who work in our universities have shown up for students through the toughest academic year I hope we’ll ever see.

The students themselves have leaned into the effort. One young woman on last month’s Zoom call told me about serving as a student health ambassador, reaching out to her classmates to share safety guidance and encouraging them to stay motivated. She said it was the most satisfying experience of her college career, and gave her a profound appreciation for the hope and determination of her fellow students.

At the dawn of 2021, we have plenty of reason to hope. We can see the promise of better days ahead in the images of health care workers and fellow citizens rolling up their sleeves to receive life-saving vaccines. We can see it in the persistence of so many students to keep learning through challenging times, so they’ll be ready to build a better future.


Institution-Specific webpages

Deep concern for the health and safety of UNC System students, faculty, and staff members is foremost in mind.

The table provides links to coronavirus information regarding semester schedules, confirmed case dashboards, resources, instruction, housing, and facilities from each of our institutions.

Institution COVID Webpages
Appalachian State UniversityUNC Charlotte
East Carolina UniversityUNC Greensboro
Elizabeth City State UniversityUNC Pembroke
Fayetteville State UniversityUNC Wilmington
N.C. A&T State UniversityUNC School of the Arts
North Carolina Central UniversityWestern Carolina University
North Carolina State UniversityWinston-Salem State University
UNC AshevilleNorth Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
UNC-Chapel Hill

Each campus has taken steps to minimize the risk of transmission on campus and has communicated community expectations to students, faculty, and staff. All precautions are in accordance with CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) guidance to institutions of higher education, as well as with the Governor’s executive orders. These actions address four areas of focus: community standards of behavior; facilities and the environment; instruction; and services and activities.

  • Classrooms have been reconfigured to reduce seating capacity and maximize distance between students.
  • Protective barriers have been strategically placed to protect individuals in high-traffic areas.
  • Occupancy of restrooms and other smaller public spaces have been reduced; in some cases, conference and study areas are unavailable.
  • Public areas are rigorously and frequently cleaned according to CDC standards.
  • Hygiene stations with hand sanitizer and other materials are readily available.

FACULTY & STAFF REsources

Faculty and Staff

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program provides a variety resources specific to COVID-19.

The UNC System Digital Learning team has designed Moving to Alternative Instructional Formats to help faculty employ the technology to hold remote classes.

UNC System Human Resources has developed a set of resources to support faculty and staff with well-being, resilience, and stress management during these times.

UNC System Office Staff

System Office employees may log in to Human Resources System Office COVID-19 Resources to access a variety of resources, including guidance from senior leaders, access to ComPsych, and information on remote working.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

During this unprecedented time, we understand that many of you are looking for more information. Please find some frequently asked questions below and links to additional resources, as appropriate:

The health and safety of our community is our top priority at the UNC System. The UNC System Office and President Peter Hans are working closely with local, state, and federal authorities to monitor ongoing developments, coordinate and share information, ensure pandemic plans are working, and provide guidance to our institutions.

Working in unison with leaders at our constituent institutions, we have shared updates regarding actions we are taking to preserve the health of our students, faculty, staff, and partners. 

This dashboard from NCDHHS provides an overview on the metrics and capacities that the state is following.

Restrictions and rules on gathering, face coverings, and measures implemented on UNC System campuses are in accordance with CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) guidance to institutions of higher education, as well as with the Governor’s executive orders. The state’s website provides the latest information.

A free COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all who want it, but supplies will be limited at first. To save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19, independent state and federal health advisory committees recommended first protecting health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

To find out your eligibility and the appointment process available in each county of North Carolina, visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Rest assured: you have a spot to take your shot.

You can help keep yourself and others healthy by following the guidelines below and consider adding the Slow COVID NC contact tracing app to your smartphone.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Use a cloth covering that covers your mouth and nose when leaving the house, especially when you may not be able to keep 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

Current CDC guidance for institutions of higher education can be found here. Their suggestions are not meant to take the place of state and local guidance.

Links to relevant resources on Coronavirus:

Section 300.2.15 of the UNC Policy Manual, Policy on UNC System Pandemic and Communicable Disease Emergency, outline provisions covering communicable diseases or other serious public health threats that is declared be public health emergencies.  See also the state employee policy.

Each of our campuses has adopted detailed COVID-19 response plans that include broad-based surveillance testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols, reduced occupancy in on-campus housing, and other mitigation measures such as social distancing.  UNC institutions’ plans are guided by guidance from the federal, state, and local public health officials and the UNC System Office.

Each institution in the UNC System has established student emergency funds designed to directly benefit students. A donation to one of these funds will assist students who are struggling financially due to the ongoing health crisis and keep them in a position to continue their education.

Gifts to these funds are tax deductible and will be used by each institution, per the fund guidelines, to meet the various needs of students during this difficult time.