As we head into the final weeks of the spring semester, we hope all of our students, faculty, and staff have a successful conclusion to the academic year. Continued success in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and extraordinary progress with vaccine distribution are encouraging indicators for the health and safety of our community as we end the spring semester and look forward to the fall.
To date, over 600 members of our university community have received at least one dose of the vaccine through the Student Health Center and hundreds of other faculty, staff, and students have received the vaccine through outside entities. Additionally, with Colorado moving to Phase 2 of its vaccine distribution plan today—meaning individuals 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine—the number of community members who will receive the vaccine in April and May is expected to increase dramatically. All of these trends affirm that the outlook for returning our entire community to campus in the fall, which was first communicated in January, is very promising.
As we look forward to the fall semester, here is what our community can expect when our students return in August:
UNC will return to a semester of course modalities much like what was offered pre-pandemic, meaning the vast majority of courses will be taught in a traditional, face-to-face format. Similar to a typical semester, there will continue to be a small percentage of courses that will be offered either online or in a mixed face-to-face format (combining both in-person and online delivery). We anticipate that classrooms and other spaces will return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels, and we will continue to follow guidance from local and state public health authorities to deliver our courses safely.
Course registration for the fall semester begins for graduate students on Monday, April 5. Undergraduate students will first be able to register for courses on Tuesday, April 6. The registration schedule, based on credit hours earned, can be found here. The fall semester begins on Monday, August 23.
Student Engagement, Activities and Events
UNC will be restoring the activities, events, and opportunities that allow our students to enjoy experiential learning, campus life, and community engagement—all hallmarks of a UNC education. While we have been able to have some activities and events in person this academic year, it has been much more limited compared to previous years. The return of all student engagement activities and events in person once again will help revitalize the campus experience our students have been accustomed to since they first became a Bear. Having our students fill the stands at our athletic events, attend theater and music performances, and hang out together in their favorite campus locations will also be a welcome sight this fall.
Bear Welcome Week is one of the most anticipated weeks of the year and this fall will be no different. In August, we will welcome our new and returning students with a number of activities and events, providing many opportunities for our students to reconnect, meet new friends, get connected with campus resources, and engage with faculty and staff prior to the start of classes. Among the many events scheduled, students will be able to participate in Taste of UNC and the Bear Fest Carnival, RecFest, and Northern at Night. There will be great food, fun, and lots of Bear spirit to kick-off the fall semester.
Residence Life and On-Campus Dining
Residence halls and dining facilities will have near normal operation and will continue to follow guidelines set forth by public health authorities. Holmes Dining Hall has already been able to expand capacity for students to dine-in under the state’s five-star variance program. Students who would like to live on campus for the 2021-22 academic year are able to apply online. Priority for room selection is determined based on the date a student completes the housing contract. Students can now log into their housing contract and select their room assignment. Single rooms are available within suites. In recognition of a residential campus experience, the live-on requirement for first-year students will continue to be in place.
We understand that the effects of the pandemic have caused some of our students and their families to encounter financial challenges this past year. Students who have had significant losses in family or individual income over the last year are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine whether they may be eligible for additional financial aid for the upcoming year. Financial aid packages are awarded after grades post for the spring semester and will be sent to students toward the end of May.
As of March 25, UNC has distributed $8.89 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to students. The university will award additional stimulus funds as they become available to support our students.
A return to in-person instruction, activities, and events this fall will allow us to continue to build momentum in the implementation of Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, centered around making UNC a Students First institution—which is imagined with our entire community together on campus. UNC has created a comprehensive resource website for our fall 2021 return, which we encourage you to bookmark and visit frequently. The website will be updated when additional details about the fall semester become available.
Finish strong in the weeks ahead—there is a lot to be excited about!
Mark R. Anderson
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Student Affairs