COVID-19 UPDATE: Important Reminders about Healthy Behavior
Dear Carolina Students,
I hope that your transition back from winter break has been a smooth one and that you are settling into your classes. I write to you with some important reminders to help make sure we have a successful spring semester.
We greatly appreciate that the majority of our students are committed to following our COVID-19 Community Standards to protect yourselves and each other. However, we continue to receive a concerning number of reports that students are gathering in groups of more than 10 people without masks, on and off campus. Our data shows that positive cases among Carolina students are most often connected to social gatherings, especially indoors, where people are not following the Three Ws and local gathering ordinances.
At the start of the spring semester, you signed an acknowledgement that your compliance with these standards is a condition of your enrollment. Please know that failure to comply with these standards may result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal from on-campus housing and/or disenrollment from the University..
Remember to also abide by state and local gathering and curfew orders. The Governor’s Stay-at-Home order — which mandates hosting no more than 10 people indoors, being at home by 10 p.m. and wearing a mask anytime you are indoors with anyone from outside of your household — has been extended until at least Feb. 28.
We understand it’s important to connect with fellow students, but we encourage you to socialize in the safest ways possible: in small groups outdoors where the environment limits airborne spread, maintaining physical distance and wearing masks. And any time you are in physical proximity with someone outside your immediate household, it’s critical to wear your mask to protect yourself and others.
This semester we are requiring students who live in the Chapel Hill or Carrboro area to get tested once a week, even if all of your classes are being taught remotely, and twice a week if you live on campus or have any in-person classes (even if classes are remote until Feb. 8). Asymptomatic testing is offered at three sites across campus seven days a week. Don’t forget that your COVID test results reflect a moment in time, so no matter what your test result is, you still must practice the Three Ws at all times.
Please be aware that the University regularly reviews testing data to identify students who are not in compliance. Student Conduct may request additional information from you as needed to determine whether administrative or disciplinary action is warranted for not participating. We are serious about our testing program as an essential part of reducing the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the community, and we ask that you keep up with your testing routine for the entire semester. The vast majority of our students are participating in the program as required, and we thank you for your commitment to promoting the health and safety of your fellow students and neighbors here in Chapel Hill. If you have testing questions, you may submit them here, and someone will follow up with you directly.
Tar Heels Care
We do see a light at the end of the tunnel, particularly as vaccines become more widely available. We know we have asked a great deal of you already, but we must continue to emphasize selflessness and vigilance in caring for our fellow Tar Heels and our community members, especially with the introduction of new variants of the virus that we’re still working to understand.
Please re-double your efforts to adhere to our COVID-19 Community Standards and take personal responsibility to make this spring semester at Carolina a safe and successful one. If you witness activities that are not in compliance with the Community Standards, we encourage you to call police immediately (you may choose to remain anonymous), so they may formally document the incident. You may also refer behavior to Student Conduct, and they will review and address it as appropriate.
Be well, take care of each other, and Go Heels!
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs