Dear Graduate Students,
We continue to be optimistic as we look ahead toward Fall 2020. We are eager to get back to what we do best at UNCG: teaching, learning, and serving our community. We know things will look different, and we have to stay flexible. As we continue learning more about COVID-19, we are steadily making progress in developing detailed action plans that balance student success, instructional requirements, and the hallmarks of the collegiate experience with the safety and well-being of our campus community.
The health and safety of our community comes first in our decision-making. We are following state and UNC System policies as well as our own compass as we work through the planning necessary to bring you safely back to UNCG in August. Know that more details are forthcoming and will be communicated in the next 2-3 weeks. We will work to be prepared for whatever circumstances come our way. In the meantime, here are a few key updates to give you a sense of the direction we are headed.
As you likely know, we have adjusted our academic calendar. We will start on time, eliminate Fall Break, and finish in-person activity by the Thanksgiving holiday, moving most exams online. Less movement helps fight the spread of the virus and ending early may help us avoid the challenges of COVID-19 during flu season. We know reducing breaks can add stress for students, and we will do all we can to help you manage this challenge.
In order to maximize flexibility, practice social distancing, and ensure in-person access as much as possible, we will deliver classes using a variety of methods: in-person, hybrid, and online. We are spending the summer improving our capabilities to provide more, and better, online learning experiences and support services. We will be making adjustments to course delivery methods by the end of June. For instance, some courses will meet in-person less frequently than is typical, with some class meetings taking place online. In nearly all cases, the days and times courses are offered will not change. You will receive instructions soon about how to view your updated course types and make changes if desired. We want you to have choices based on your needs and preferences.
Research activity is the lifeblood of academia, and our research teams are anxious to get back to their important work. We are addressing labs and other research spaces with great care to keep graduate students and supervising faculty on campus with as few disruptions as possible. Those of you involved in research should visit our Keep Researching website and reach out to your advising faculty directly to discuss plans for the fall.
It will take all of us together to keep our community safe and healthy. The primary way COVID-19 spreads is through person-to-person contact, so our best hope of preventing its spread is by changing the way we behave. We will expect graduate students to show care for their friends, peers, colleagues, and neighbors. This means students are expected to wear a face covering when close to others, wash their hands often and properly, and practice social distancing. We will provide more details and resources on community safety standards as we get closer to the start of the year.
Residential Housing and Dining:
Consistent with UNC System policy, residence halls will be occupied based on normal, expected capacity with some exceptions and modifications that will help us better serve students who may have special health circumstances. Many students will still have roommates and suitemates. Dining halls will be operational. We are developing detailed policies and procedures that will ensure social distancing, intensified cleaning, and other safety measures. Some residential rooms will also be reserved and prepared should we be required to implement any quarantining or isolation measures during the academic year.
We will continue to keep you informed as changes and clarifications occur, and you can expect more detailed communications over the next two-three weeks. Please monitor your email, regularly visit our UNCG COVID-19 website, download our mobile app (see iTunes App store or the Google Play app store and use the graduate student persona option), and follow @UNCG on your preferred social media platforms for the most up-to-date information Thank you for your trust, patience, and adaptability as we have all grappled with our current realities. We look forward to seeing you on campus in August.
Kelly Burke, D.M.A.
Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Greg Bell, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of the Graduate School
Cathy Akens, Ed.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs