Dear UNCG Community,
We must all work together to create the safest possible environment for our students, employees, visitors, and surrounding community as we return to work and welcome students back to campus. The best way to meet the public health challenge that COVID-19 presents is for each and every one of us to follow a set of vitally important protocols in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
Because COVID-19 is spread through droplets when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes, one of the most important tools we have in this fight are face coverings. Following CDC guidance, and per the newly issued statement by the UNC System, we have modified our expectations for faculty, staff, and students and will make face coverings mandatory at UNCG, effective immediately.
Every faculty and staff member and student must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth while indoors – including in classrooms, libraries, auditoriums, and meeting spaces. These may be cloth/reusable or disposable. Employees may remove their face coverings when in their individual offices. Face coverings are also required outdoors in situations where appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained. Students, faculty, and staff are required to have a face covering with them whenever they are on campus. We are also requiring visitors and guests to honor our efforts to keep our campus community safe; as such, these policies apply to all visitors, vendors, and independent contractors.
Face coverings will be provided to faculty and staff as previously communicated; employees who have questions about how to obtain face coverings should speak with their department head/chair or supervisor. UNCG also will provide students with face coverings. Information about the process for distributing face coverings for students will be made available later this summer. Individuals – employees and students – may also use their own face coverings, provided they meet CDC guidelines and, for employees, are appropriate for the workplace.
This novel virus has forced all of us to adopt new patterns of behavior that are sometimes awkward and uncomfortable. We need to work together to reinforce the importance of engaging in all of the behaviors we know prevent the spread of the virus – handwashing, staying home when ill, social distancing, wearing face coverings, and showing we care about each other by doing what is right to help fight COVID-19.
We are relying on members of our community to adhere to these standards, but when necessary, we also will enforce these behaviors. This will include asking students who do not have a face covering to leave the classroom, campus building, or other venue and only return when they have a face covering. Students who continue to violate this policy may be subject to further action per the Student Code of Conduct. Similarly, employees who do not wear a face covering may be subject to disciplinary action based on our policies regarding employee performance and behaviors in the workplace.
A task force of faculty, staff, and students is currently exploring the appropriate mechanisms for implementing, reinforcing, and enforcing this important mandate and will provide further details in the near future.
Students who seek an exception to this policy because they are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS); employees with a similar request should contact their HR business partner. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis to facilitate teaching and learning in specific environments.
Wearing a face covering is an expression of care, an acknowledgment of community, and a vital part of our plan to make UNCG as safe as possible for everyone. Thank you for abiding by these guidelines as we work together to do so.