Minimizing Spread of the Virus

Preventing the occurence and spread of novel coronavirus is everyone's responsibility and will only be successful if we each take that responsibility seriously.

That means engaging daily, consistently in a variety of actions that have proven ability to eliminate coronavirus and/or blunt its ability to spread. Because COVID-19 is a relatively new virus and no approved pharmaceutical therapies exist to prevent or treat it, the preventative measures that individuals engage in are among the only ways to keep the virus under control. Given that no pharmaceutical help is on the immediate horizon, those preventative measures are especially important. 

Protocol and Oversight

The protocol that we will follow for containing the spread of the coronavirus is a combination of federal and state regulations put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the State of North Carolina Department of Health. Oversight for that protocol will be provided by the Fall 2020 Planning Committee including the director of the Student Health Center.

While most employees and students have remained off campus for the past several months, extensive santization has taken place. Some physical spaces have also been modified to provide additional protection against virus spread, such as installing plexiglas barriers between service providers and students. Signage and floor markings has also been put in place around the campus to support social distancing.

Additional steps below are also being taken.

Sanitization protocols and practices

Housekeeping teams will clean lobby areas, and heavy traffic areas, based on CDC guidelines for disinfection and Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) protocols. Facilities also will maintain hand-sanitizer stations at major building entrances, elevator stops, auditoriums, classrooms, computer rooms and high-traffic areas. The university will supply disinfectant, initially, then employees in individual workspaces will be responsible for frequently disinfecting their own areas.

Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and monitoring systems will be assessed and readied prior to reopening of buildings. Building occupants should also wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use with products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g., copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc.). Research laboratories will undergo an additional cleaning checklist.

Classroom health and safety

General classroom capacity will be reduced to approximately 30 percent depending on the learning space to ensure enough room to accommodate social distancing. Capacity of some rooms such as labs will be determined on a case-by-case basis constrained by physical distancing, equipment and layout. All classes offered face-to-face will have blended options, allowing some students to remain remote.

Consistent with the university's requirement for employees and students, both classroom instructors and students taking in-person classes will wear face masks while in the classroom. Students and instructors who are not able to wear a mask, for whatever reason, are encouraged to teach or study in online courses instead.

Instructional practices and flexibility

Most courses will be offered both in person and online to maintain the health of classroom environments and all studying and working within them. Students are encouraged to select the environment in which they are most comfortable. 

For summer sessions in 2020, as with the spring academic term, students are permitted to choose the pass/fail evaluation option.

Modifications to specific courses

Courses with a specific in-person requirement, such as a field experience or a lab, have been modified to support the instruction intended for those experiences whether or not they can be delivered in person. Such modifications will continue to be provided for the foreseeable future, including the fall 2020 semester.