COVID-19, Higher Ed, News

UNC system implements stricter measures to slow spread of COVID-19

The UNC System is taking new, stricter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by a new coronavirus.

Last week the system announced it would move from in-person to online instruction “indefinitely” to help slow the swiftly spreading pandemic.

After consulting with Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, the Board of Governors and other state leaders, UNC System Interim President Bill Roper has updated previous guidance issued to the 17 institutions last week, the system office said in a statement Tuesday.

Among the new precautions:

  • All institutions will continue to switch from in-person instruction to a system of “alternative course delivery,” where possible and practical, no later than March 20. University leaders will determine which classes, such as those with labs, will continue to require in-person instruction and attendance.
  • In order to substantially reduce the number of students on campus and in university housing, each constituent institution will instruct students who occupy university housing to remain at, or return to, their permanent residences unless granted an exception by the institution; exceptions will be limited to situations where students establish significant need to remain in university housing.
  • The institutions will also establish an exceptions process, with an appropriate health screening, that allows students to remain in university housing if they establish a legitimate and significant need to do so.
  • Campus dining operations will be limited to takeout or similar options, with the expectation for smaller numbers of students remaining on campus.

Institutions will continue to work with local public health officials and other community members to develop plans for quarantine or isolation, should it become necessary.

  • In light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance announced this week, each institution should cancel or postpone gatherings that assemble 50 or more individuals in a single room or space, or find alternative means of meeting, such as by video or telephone conference.  Any events or gatherings that meet or exceed the 50-person threshold will require the approval of the chancellor. The CDC and White House have recommended avoidance of gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Institutions will continue to use teleworking and identify mandatory employees needed for continued operations during the COVD-19 pandemic, as well as exercise discretion for granting paid administrative leave, where appropriate.

Policy Watch will continue to report on the efforts of the university system as it reacts to the pandemic and the impact on students, faculty and staff.

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