Dear UNCG Students and Families,
Much work has taken place over the past weeks to prepare for the beginning of the new academic year and fall semester. As the time for us to welcome students back grows closer, it is imperative that everyone is aware and informed of our plans as they stand today. We also know that COVID-19 continues to keep us on our toes, and we are preparing for a wide range of scenarios. As guidance and plans change accordingly, we will be communicating regularly with our Spartan stakeholders.
The intent of this communication is to summarize plans and information to date about how our campus will operate this fall. We will continue to send routine updates as we resume and restart services on campus. Also, please remain vigilant about monitoring your email and the UNCG COVID-19 website as we move through the remainder of the summer.
Town Hall Meetings with Chancellor Gilliam
To most directly address your questions, Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. will host a series of interactive virtual Town Hall meetings in July. He will be joined by UNCG’s new Provost, Dr. Jim Coleman, as well as other senior members of the UNCG team to address plans for the fall and to answer questions you may have about operations, policies, and our overall outlook for the next semester. Please join us as follows:
- July 17, 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Graduate students
Stream link: https://go.uncg.edu/chancellor-town-hall-graduate
Submit a question: https://go.uncg.edu/chancellor-town-hall-graduate-questions
- July 20: 6:00-7:00 p.m.: New students (freshmen and transfers)
Stream link: https://go.uncg.edu/chancellor-town-hall-incoming
Submit a question: https://go.uncg.edu/chancellor-town-hall-freshman-returning-students-questions
- July 21: 6:00-7:00 p.m.: Returning students
Stream link: https://go.uncg.edu/chancellor-town-hall-returning
Submit a question: https://go.uncg.edu/chancellor-town-halls-returning-students-questions
Additional details may be sent separately, closer to the Town Hall dates.
We have adjusted our academic calendar to minimize mass student travel during the semester and reduce spread of the virus.
- Classes will start on August 18 as previously scheduled.
- We have eliminated Fall Break and the formal Reading Day.
- The last day of class will be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (November 24). Most final exams will be held online.
- Calendar and course dates for some online only programs may be different. Please review your course dates in Genie or check with your faculty if you are unsure of your course dates.
- This adjusted calendar contains the same number of instructional days as the prior calendar.
In order to maximize schedule flexibility, practice social distancing in our learning spaces, and ensure in-person access as much as possible, we will deliver classes using a variety of methods: in-person, online, and a hybrid of both. Our efforts include:
- Improving our capabilities to provide more, and better, online learning experiences and support services.
- Investing in a sophisticated new video platform that allows recording, webcasting, and video content management for distance learning in virtually every learning space on campus. More information is available in our Fall 2020 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
- Shifting nearly 900 sections that were originally scheduled as face-to-face to online; restructuring another 1,250+ sections to a hybrid format.
- Reducing the time some students spend face-to-face in the classroom by as much as two-thirds.
We want students and families to have choices based on their needs and preferences. Please check your schedules as soon as possible. More details about hybrid courses, including how to find and add/drop them in the course schedule, are available here.
We are making a range of physical adjustments to classroom settings, including:
- All in-person classes will be socially distanced, with all participants wearing face coverings.
- Classrooms and hallways will be cleaned intensively and frequently.
- Students will be able to maintain distancing in our shuttles on the way to and from classes.
- Managing traffic in hallways and staggering the way people enter and leave classrooms.
- Providing other physical protections and barriers where appropriate, adding hand sanitizer stations, etc.
Required Face Coverings
As previously announced and consistent with state, local, and UNC system requirements, we have modified our expectations for students, faculty, and staff – face coverings are mandatory at UNCG, effective immediately.
- Every student, faculty, and staff member must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth while indoors on campus – including in classrooms, libraries, auditoriums, and meeting spaces.
- Face coverings are also required outdoors in situations where appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Face coverings will be provided to students and employees.
- 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).
- More details are available here.
Additional Health and Safety Guidance
In addition to requiring face coverings, we have many other protocols in place to address the health of our students and employees, including:
- All students and employees are to monitor themselves for symptoms prior to coming to work or the classroom.
- Student Health Services is providing telemedicine services to reduce the potential for exposure during in-person office visits.
- Testing is available for students through Student Health Services and for employees through their health care provider and community-based clinics. Students and employees are asked to use a self-reporting tool if they are ill and/or have been tested.
- These self-reports feed into a case tracking tool to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the contact tracing and case management process.
Quarantine and Isolation Facilities
Following guidelines from Guilford County Public Health and recommendations from the CDC, students who are exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or who become ill will be asked to return home. If a student is unable to travel or has other extenuating circumstances, a limited number of quarantine and isolation spaces are available on campus, and a protocol is in place to support them
Residential Housing Update
Housing & Residence Life are implementing new precautions and policies in residence halls including:
- Changing the move-in process to a two-stage approach (a drop-off stage and a final move stage)
- Adjusting guest visitation policy to limit visitors.
- Increased cleaning in common areas.
For students who plan to live on campus:
- Any new or returning resident who does not feel comfortable living on campus given the unique circumstances, the changes made for the health and safety of residents, or the 2020-21 Housing Contract Addendum, may cancel planned housing in ARTEMIS by July 11. We will refund the $200 pre-payment and you will not be charged any cancellation fees.
- On July 2, 2020, UNCG received guidance from the UNC System related to potential housing and dining refunds should campus operations be interrupted as they were in the Spring. The full text is available in our Q&A here. While we cannot predict what the mandates around health and safety might be, consistent with this System guidance and our own statement from June 23, we will always work with our students to find ways to help should adverse situations arise. We know this is a stressful and uncertain time. We are dedicated to finding ways to support our students and their families and ease these potential burdens as much as possible. If UNCG is able to offer financial relief – in the form of refunds or other measures – to support our students, we will do so. Further, we remain fully committed to our priority of helping students who might not otherwise have stable environments to return to (for example, in the Spring when we had to close most residence halls, we were able to offer an exception for students with the greatest need to remain on campus and to help other students without financial means to return home safely).
Much more detail is available here, including additional guidance for students who may decide to change their housing or dining plans.
Campus Dining Changes
Spartan Dining is implementing an operations plan to best serve our students, faculty, staff, and visitors whenever they eat on campus, including:
- Following guidance from the CDC and through consultation with Guilford County Public Health, which certifies all food operations in the county.
- Reducing capacity at venues by 50%.
- Creating new To Go dining locations.
- Implementing significant new training and safety/cleaning protocols.
- Reinforcing social distancing at each venue, and much more.
Details are available in our Fall 2020 FAQ.
Enhanced Cleaning Protocols across Campus
UNCG is implementing a wide range of new cleaning protocols across our campus to help limit the spread of COVID-19. This will include more frequent cleaning of all spaces with a focus on common areas, frequently touched surfaces, and locations where the virus may be more likely to spread. More information is available in our Fall 2020 FAQ.
To support the community safety standards we are putting in place, events will be extremely limited and subject to statewide limitations around crowd size.
- All summer events have been postponed or cancelled.
- A number of traditional campus events will be redesigned to facilitate social distancing and take advantage of technology to connect people – including UNCG Homecoming.
- Conference and meeting facilities will have extremely limited access.
- If you have planned an event or have an expectation for a traditional campus event, please be sure to check with your campus contact for updates.
Changes in Transportation
Parking Operations and Campus Access Management (POCAM) is instituting health and safety measures on all campus buses including:
- Enhanced cleaning of vehicles and outfitting each bus with hand sanitizer.
- Requiring all occupants of buses to wear face coverings.
- Reducing bus capacity by 50% (10-15 passengers).
- Reviewing routes for possible changes to allow for more efficient and effective travel times.
Riders are encouraged to give themselves additional time for possible delays due to reduced capacity on buses. Instructors are encouraged to be flexible with students who may arrive a few minutes late to class.
Shield Our Spartans
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 students to show care for their friends, peers, colleagues, and neighbors. This means students are required to wear face coverings when close to others, wash their hands often and properly, and practice social distancing.
UNCG is in frequent contact with Guilford County Public Health, the UNC System, state and federal officials, and other experts as we move forward. If the situation, our knowledge, or the guidance changes, we will be ready to adapt and flexible in making decisions that keep the health of our students and employees – especially those most at risk – and our community at the forefront of our decision making.
We will continue to provide updates on operational decisions, new procedures and protocols, and other plans as they become available. Please continue to monitor your email, follow @UNCG on your preferred social media platform, download our mobile app (the one with our logo and the blue background) from the Google or iTunes app store, and visit our COVID-19 website frequently for the latest information.