Fellow Bears:

As the holiday weekend approaches, we continue to think about the health, safety, and well-being of our Community of Bears. The next semester will be unlike any other that our students, faculty, and staff have experienced. Many individuals across campus have been working since the end of the spring semester to plan for the fall. We feel confident that UNC is well prepared to welcome everyone back to campus.

With that said, we will remain flexible—individually and as a University community—as the dynamics associated with the pandemic and public health guidelines will change in the months to come. UNC is closely monitoring local, state, and national health trends on a daily basis and will continue to follow best practices as advised by the CDC and state and local public health officials. We appreciate your patience and understanding, and ask each of you to be prepared to do your part to protect the health of our entire campus community, as well as our friends, families, and neighbors.

This week, the faculty finalized the significant work of determining how each of the more than 2,000 courses offered this fall will be delivered, whether in person, online, or in a hybrid format. Decisions were made following extensive review of course objectives and best practices that follow professional standards in each academic program. The revised course schedule is now available to review at: unco.edu/fall20. Students will be notified as soon as the course schedule has been updated in Ursa, but no later than July 15, in order to confirm or make changes to their registration.

The input provided by our campus community has been instrumental in our planning efforts. Faculty and staff in units across campus have contributed to this work over several weeks. We also utilized data that was compiled by the Social Research Lab based on the results of a survey sent to all current UNC students. Nearly six out of 10 UNC students who are currently enrolled indicated they prefer in-person instruction over online delivery. The results informed decisions and the changes that have been made to the fall course schedule, as well as other campus operations.

 Additional things you should know:

  • Effective immediately, all UNC students, employees, and visitors are required to wear face coverings at all times while in public or shared spaces on campus. Students living on campus will be expected to wear a mask unless they are in their own room or doing tasks that cannot be completed while wearing a mask such as eating. The mask policy is posted at: unco.edu/masks
  • Residence hall assignments, as well as move-in dates, times, and procedures were emailed earlier this week to students who will be living on campus.
  • Dine-in seating has been approved for UNC’s dining halls, and outdoor seating will also be available during nice weather conditions. Dining options will also include grab-and-go and/or frozen meals.
  • Campus support, student engagement, and service centers—cultural and resource centers, disability resources, counseling, career readiness, advising, tutoring, clubs and organizations, health and wellness—will remain a vital component as we enter the fall semester. These opportunities and services will be available to everyone both in person and online to provide increased access and adhere to social distancing guidelines that will be in effect across campus.  
  • UNC will distribute approximately $1.1M of CARES Act funding to students who have COVID-19 related financial needs this fall. Information on how to apply for this support will be shared with students in early August.
  • Throughout the summer, Admissions has hosted virtual town halls for admitted students to ask questions about plans for the fall semester. As we finalize our planning, we expect to host an additional town hall in late July for admitted and continuing students later this month. Once a date has been confirmed, information will be shared by email and social media.

Questions and concerns regarding the fall academic calendar have also been shared with us. As of today, UNC plans to follow the existing calendar, including on-campus instruction following Thanksgiving break. While this may cause uncertainty for some of our students who need to make travel plans, we promise to make timely decisions and communicate them promptly should we alter the fall schedule based on changing conditions and public health orders.

Communication will remain a priority now and throughout the fall semester. UNC has created a new weekly email digest that is being sent to students, faculty, staff, and parents and will be posted on our Coronavirus website. A Return to Campus website is now in development and will be online next week. The site will provide detailed information about health and safety policies and protocols that UNC will follow throughout the year and new information will be added on a regular basis. We are also continuing our Operational Updates that are recorded each Thursday morning and shared via our social media channels and website. Students are encouraged to regularly check their Bear Mail throughout the summer for important emails and newsletters related to the fall semester.

Our community has shown its resilience and a tremendous capability to come together to respond to evolving circumstances over the course of the last few months. We truly appreciate everyone who continues to provide planning support, information, and feedback. The care and thoughtfulness shown by our community has helped us in our approach and our decisions so that all of us can safely return next month. By working together, even in times of uncertainty, we will navigate additional changes and support each other.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Bears.

Andy Feinstein
President

Mark Anderson
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Co-Chair, Fall Re-Entry Task Force

Katrina Rodriguez
Vice President for Student Affairs
Co-Chair, Fall Re-Entry Task Force