UPDATE: Impacts of UNC System Guidance

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

12:41 p.m.
Below this message is a media release as issued shortly ago by the UNC System. We are doing what we can to develop detailed plans as to how this new guidance will apply to UNCW students and employees. This is a brief message meant to share the information that is already confirmed; we assure you that we will issue additional updates later today, and in the coming days, as information is confirmed. We are aware employees, students and families will have significant questions; please allow us time to develop a comprehensive update for you based on this new guidance.
Based on new UNC System guidance as of this morning, UNCW is requiring all students to return to their permanent residences, or to remain in their current off-campus locations, if circumstances permit. Exceptions will be made for students who believe they need to remain in residence halls. These exceptions will be considered in extraordinary cases, including if students may not have safe and suitable alternative living arrangements, or if they have prohibitive travel restrictions or exceptional ongoing academic commitments. We are developing criteria for students who will be permitted to remain in the residence halls and we will share that information, as well as details as to how to submit an exception request, by 10 a.m. tomorrow.
We will also share information by 10 a.m. tomorrow regarding when and how students can come retrieve belongings before returning home. We are working as quickly as we can to develop an organized, safe process for our students and their families. Campus dining and some campus services will be available for those who remain on campus. We will share details as soon as they are established, including information on how we will demonstrate social distance recommendations as it pertains to dining services.
As previously shared, events with more than 100 attendees are cancelled and there will be no exceptions granted. Per the UNC System guidance: “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.”
There is not yet information about the impact of these developments on Commencement. We will share that information as soon as System guidance is issued. Please know we understand how important this milestone event is for our students and their families as well as for our faculty and staff, and we appreciate the need for travel planning. With all of that in mind, we will share decisions as soon as they are made.

Special faculty and staff leave provisions will be in effect through March 31, 2020. (We are awaiting guidance regarding when these provisions took or will take effect.) These provisions are designed to align with social distancing guidelines, including remote work and telework wherever possible, and to allow for paid administrative leave when such remote work/telework options are not available. Employees should consult their supervisor for specific instructions on how they are to proceed. Institutions may have discretion to offer paid administrative leave. These provisions are extended to include student and temporary employees. We will issue additional guidance as soon as it is available, including information about mandatory employee designation and additional telework and leave guidelines. After reading that guidance as issued, employees, including student employees, should consult with their supervisors with questions.

Spring break remains in effect for this week as instructors and students prepare to move to online/alternate instruction on March 23. OAP students and students enrolled in fully online/distance ed courses should consult with instructors for guidance, as it may be different than guidance provided for the rest of the student population.
We do not yet know if online/alternate instruction will be in effect for the remainder of the semester. Instructors will continue to share information regarding adapted coursework directly with students as it is available, and instructors should be students’ first point of contact with any questions specific to courses. Instructors should continue to consult the Keep Teaching website as well as their chairs and deans for additional guidance. Within the 24 hours, we will be sharing information on a “Keep Learning” site for students, which will feature resources, tools and tips for students as they adjust to online/alternate instruction. This will include information for students who do not have laptops or reliable internet access from off campus, with special thanks to SGA leadership for their hard work.

  • All university-related business travel, both international and domestic outside of North Carolina, remains prohibited. Please see previous guidance.
  • All students currently studying abroad, regardless of location, have been recalled, in accordance with a UNC System directive. Students returning from Threat Level 3 areas are in or will be in self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days following their return date. The students who are self-quarantining will receive regular contact from the Student Health Center. Students who have questions about self-quarantining should contact the Student Health Center (910.962.0587 or We are asking that students self-quarantine off-campus and we cannot support students self-quarantining on campus. We will do our best to help students locate suitable off-campus options if they don’t have easy access to such spaces. Students should contact the Student Health Center (910.962.0587 or for assistance.
  • We are not yet able to offer information regarding partial housing/dining refunds without authority or guidance from the UNC System. We will share any updates when available. 
This is a very upsetting situation for all involved. We are doing our best to provide you with all the resources you may need to navigate these uncertain times. Please continue to consult the UNCW coronavirus site as well as the resources below. We will share additional updates as soon as they are available.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience as we develop and share detailed plans with you. We are moving as quickly and efficiently as we can to address all topics and questions, and we have appreciated the unity and spirit illustrated by our employees and our students and their families during this unprecedented situation.

March 17, 2020
UNC System Updates Guidance to Constituent Institutions
CHAPEL HILL, NC - The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present constantly evolving challenges for the UNC System’s leaders, students, faculty, and employees. The entire University of North Carolina System continues to work diligently to protect the health and safety of our campus communities during this unprecedented public health emergency. After consulting with the Governor’s office, the Board of Governors, and other state leaders, Interim President Bill Roper has updated previous guidance issued to System institutions last week.
  • All institutions will continue to move 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:
o    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; and 
o    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;
o    Reduce campus dining operations 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 to accommodate needs for quarantine or isolation, should it become necessary.
  • In light of the CDC 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. Keep in mind the CDC and White House have recommended avoidance of gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Institutions will continue to utilize teleworking arrangements, identify mandatory employees needed for continued operations during the COVD-19 pandemic and exercise discretion for granting paid administrative leave, where appropriate. 
Individual UNC System institutions will issue detailed implementation updates for their respective campuses.
UNC System institutions are adapting quickly as circumstances evolve, remaining focused on the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and the delivery of our core academic mission.