Campus News

University revises COVID-19 Community Standards

Classroom and building capacity will return to normal; gathering limits will be lifted; masks will be required indoors; and COVID-19 testing will be required for unvaccinated students.

A cyclist passes South Building in late June of 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
A cyclist passes South Building in late June of 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Editor’s note: We have updated the language in the face mask section for clarity. You may remove your mask in private offices.

Campus leaders announced revised COVID-19 Community Standards to take effect on July 12 to support the safety of the community and align with public health guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

“The University is committed to making our campus as safe and welcoming as possible in every academic, research and work setting. Because of the hard work of our local community — Orange County has one of the highest vaccination rates in North Carolina — we are able to return to work with greater confidence in our mutual safety,” Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert A. Blouin wrote in the campus message on June 30. “We look forward to a more usual, in-person experience when we welcome over 30,000 students to campus for the fall 2021 term.”

Campus leaders also emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated. All members of the Carolina community, including family members, can receive a vaccine with no appointment at the Campus Health Pharmacy at Student Stores. Community members who are already vaccinated should report it using the COVID-19 Vaccination Certification form. So far, nearly 50% of incoming students have submitted their vaccination status while less than 30% of the University’s faculty and staff have reported.

Effective July 12, these are Carolina’s revised COVID-19 Community Standards:

  • Get vaccinated — Getting an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination is the best way for members of the Carolina community to protect themselves and others and to stop the spread of the virus.
  • Face masks — Everyone must wear a face mask at all times while inside any University building. Masks may be removed in personal workspaces that are designated as private offices and when eating, drinking or exercising. Masks are not required outdoors. Vaccinated faculty may remove their masks while teaching as long as 3-6 feet of physical distancing is maintained. Every week the University will follow the science, monitor the situation and evaluate the mask standard.
  • Practice healthy habits and be respectful — As Carolina returns to a typical, in-person experience, the University is committed to the well-being of our community — not just physically, but emotionally.
  • Community members should monitor their health and should not come to campus if they have any symptoms listed on the COVID-19 symptom list.
  • Respect and honor members of the Carolina community who wish to maintain their personal space.
  • Members of the Carolina community should not ask others for their personal health information, such as vaccination status. While receiving a COVID-19 vaccination remains the best protection and is strongly encouraged by the University, vaccination is not a University mandate.
  • Carolina Together Testing Program — Unvaccinated students will be required to participate in the Carolina Together Testing Program on a weekly basis. Voluntary, asymptomatic testing will remain available for all students, faculty and staff.
  • Contact tracing and quarantine and isolation — Quarantine and isolation requirements are in place for unvaccinated individuals and vaccinated individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This includes students, faculty and staff who are contacted as part of local or University contact tracing.

With these revised COVID-19 Community Standards, several restrictions will no longer be in place. These include:

  • Classroom and building capacity limits will return to normal.
  • Event and gathering limits will be lifted.
  • Building access will return to normal.
  • UNC Dining and Transportation and Parking will return to near normal operations.
  • Domestic travel restrictions have been lifted, but international restrictions are still in place.

“We know there are concerns and anxieties about returning to our workplace settings. The stressors of making a major change to our routines once again are real and remain for all of us after over a year of living through a pandemic,” Guskiewicz and Blouin wrote. “While many employees have been working on campus since last summer, many of you have been diligently working from your homes, continuing our mission of research, teaching and service while balancing the needs of your families, many times under the same roof. We are impressed by the work you have done remotely during the pandemic.”

Throughout the past 15 months Facilities Services has also increased the amount of cleaning and disinfecting that occurs across campus and also upgraded air filters and performed maintenance on HVAC systems to ensure ideal building ventilation. Enhanced cleaning standards will remain in place, and HVAC systems are scheduled to run for additional time to increase airflow.

“As we look to the future, we will work together to shape our reimagined University, and we need you to return to campus to do that,” Guskiewicz and Blouin wrote. “We have an opportunity now to look at our workplace habits and culture and incorporate learnings from the pandemic to better serve our employees as individuals, our teams and the work that we do. We know that by working together and supporting each other we will ensure a successful return to campus.”