UNC Gillings Pandemic Planning
Message from the Dean
With COVID-19, beginning in early spring 2020, the world has experienced the worst global pandemic since the 1918 flu, and it has struck the U.S. and N.C. hard. UNC-Chapel Hill officials created Carolina Together to communicate plans, policies and procedures for continuing operations safely during the public health crisis. Everyone at the Gillings School should stay abreast of the university’s plans because they provide the foundation for our school’s plans as we navigate an unprecedented situation. Read more/less.
UNC Gillings Roadmap
The UNC Gillings Roadmap is our school’s guide, built on Carolina Together, and they are complementary companions. Our Roadmap provides detailed information about how the Gillings School aligns with the UNC-Chapel Hill plan to keep our faculty, staff and students safe and free from COVID-19; respond to positive cases in our community; continue essential research; and serve students, communities and organizations through excellence in teaching and practice. A key dimension of this roadmap is supporting the high-impact COVID-19 research, practice and service led by UNC Gillings people. See our UNC Gillings Coronavirus Web Portal to find out more about how UNC Gillings people are contributing.
Return to Campus
Plans for Carolina center on maintaining an on-campus, in-person experience for most faculty, staff members and students. Yet, this will not be possible at all times for all members of our community due to health risks, family circumstances, or because on-campus workspaces are not well-suited for physical distancing. Regardless of format and setting, we are committed to providing an exceptional standard of UNC Gillings excellence in education to all our students. However, it will require patience, flexibility and innovation. We cannot focus on what used to be. We must leave the past behind and chart a new path to a future that protects UNC Gillings people while pursuing our mission with passion matched to the crisis in which we are immersed.
Throughout this time, we make several foundational commitments to our UNC Gillings community.
- We will communicate with our many constituencies in an open and transparent manner. We will share key decisions as soon as we are able to do so. We will seek feedback, receive it with humility and use it in refining our plans.
- The pandemic is not simply a technical problem. It is also a social, psychological, economic, ethical, and political problem. We will use different disciplinary perspectives deliberately, and with reference to the APHA Public Health Code of Ethics, to analyze problems and make decisions in support of students, faculty and staff across the Gillings School and with respect to our research, teaching, practice and service.
- Systemic inequities have led to profound disparities in who has been affected by COVID-19. We will use an equity lens as we analyze problems and make decisions that do not exacerbate inequities.
- We will prioritize strategies and innovations that help equip the next generation of public health leaders and problem-solvers. We cannot cut off or pause the flow of that expertise.
These principles will anchor COVID-19-related decision-making at the Gillings School now and in the future.
Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or possibly been exposed?
If you’re not well, please follow these procedures:
- Please stay home from work.
- If you are showing COVID-19– related symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19, contact your health care provider for guidance and contact University Employee Occupational Health Clinic at 919-966-9119, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For a symptom screening checklist, visit the Carolina Together Health Monitoring page.
- Notify your supervisor that you are sick and unable to come to work.
- Refer to the COVID-19 leave information page to review leave options, which may include Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), paid administrative leave, your own accrued leave, or a combination of those.
- If you are feeling well enough to work, you may also arrange with your supervisor to work remotely, if possible, but employees who are sick for any reason should not report to a worksite and should focus on getting well rather than working.
- If an employee is not subject to official quarantine by public health authorities, but the UNC System President or UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor believes that an employee has symptoms associated with a communicable disease, the UNC System or University may direct the employee not report to work.
If you have come into contact with COVID-19:
- If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) with an infected person for more than 15 minutes when any person is not wearing a face covering, please do the following:
- Stay home and contact your primary health care provider.
- Notify your supervisor that you are unable to come to work.
- Contact the University Employee Occupational Health at 919-966-9119, from 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m.
- For information about testing and contact tracing, go to the Carolina Together Testing and Tracing page.
Testing and tracing at UNC
- If there is a possibility that you have been exposed to COVID-19 because a colleague has tested positive, you will be notified directly. Through contact tracing, University Employee Occupational Health will assess and inform employees who may be at risk and require testing and/or quarantine. In line with employee privacy laws and public health practices, only those who need to know about confirmed COVID-19 cases for their own personal health and safety will be notified. For information about testing and tracing, go to the Carolina Together Testing and Tracing page.
- Environmental Health and Safety or other areas will be informed of known or suspected cases and the need for appropriate cleaning and disinfecting measures.
Additional guidance can be found at these links:
UNC-Chapel Hill CV-19 Dashboard
The UNC-Chapel Hill COVID-19 Dashboard is a source of information for us to remain updated on COVID-19 data related to our campus, local and state communities. The dashboard is updated regularly and pulls data from multiple sources to illustrate and track various metrics which will help inform our decision making related to campus operations and possible off-ramps in consultation with the UNC System and local health officials.
Office Safety Plans
Faculty and Staff who oversee units with the School are asked to help outline specific safety strategies within your unit by completing the COVID-19 Office Safety Plan (.doc). An example of a completed form is available to download (.doc).
Currently, we are working out a mechanism to track who has returned to our buildings. Please return to this page for more information soon.
UNC’s Office of Human Resources offers return-to-work training support for three categories:
- Deans and Department Chairs
- Supervisors and Managers
At this time, the following groups of individuals are currently approved to work in buildings at the Gillings School:
- Facilities staff and other essential central staff
- Faculty and staff working in research labs engaged in COVID-19-related essential research
- Faculty and staff working in other labs or offices with an approved lab safety or office safety plan
Planning for additional UNC Gillings faculty and staff to return to our buildings is underway. We ask all faculty and staff to:
1. Review the return to campus information on the Carolina Together website, especially these two important resources:
- Obtaining a formal accommodation due to personal medical circumstances
- Obtaining flexibility for reasons other than personal medical circumstances
2. Connect with their direct supervisor, department chair and/or unit head as appropriate, to discuss any flexibility needs and to confirm a target date to return to campus.
Faculty and staff who need to visit UNC Gillings buildings briefly for drop-offs or pickups can contact Brent Wishart, email@example.com, to make a request. Visits must be logged and scheduled to ensure safe physical distancing and other safety measures.
Guidelines set forth by the UNC Chancellor, Provost and Vice Chancellor can be found at Carolina Together. The website is updated weekly.
Community Protective Equipment (CPE)
- Everyone on campus must wear masks at all times except when alone in private offices. This guidance includes all UNC Gillings buildings, wherever they are located.
- Do not remove the mask when going to the restroom.
- Pay attention to guidance on how long each mask should last and how to properly clean and store in between use.
- While in a University facility, all individuals must wear a University-approved face mask when in the presence of others and in public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., conference rooms and common workspaces, hallways). Information about acceptable face mask options will be available at the UNC Environment Health and Safety website.
- When on campus, all individuals must wear face masks and maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times – a minimum of six feet (200 square feet per person).
- Assembling or convening in groups of more than 10 people poses a significant risk of viral transmission and is not permitted.
- Individuals should avoid holding open exterior doors for others as doing so would likely compromise required physical distancing.
- Please visit our Centrally Managed Classrooms webpage to see updated physical distance occupancy for classrooms and auditoriums.
Common Areas and Meeting Rooms
- Common areas, such as break rooms, offices, restrooms, elevators and conference rooms should be used only while adhering to physical distancing guidance. For example, only one person can be on an elevator at a time. If you are able, please defer to a person who must use the elevator.
- Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support physical distancing practices between attendees.
- All persons should wear face masks while in common rooms (even if others are not present) to provide protection in the event other people walk in.
- Room occupancy limits must be defined and clearly stated through appropriate signage for each common area, meeting room or laboratory. Confirm that the occupancy limit has not been reached before entering a lab, meeting room or office.
- Where possible, meetings should be convened and conducted remotely. If a meeting must be held in person, physical distancing requirements apply, and with a minimum of 200 square feet per person always.
- Physical distancing of six feet should be observed, even when eating or talking to others.
- Individuals are encouraged to eat meals outside, if possible, unless eating alone in a private office.
- If common areas, such as break rooms and conference areas, are used for meals, the person using them must wipe down surfaces using a 70% ethanol or equivalent solution.
- We no longer can serve food as we did before, for example, buffet style.
- Only one person will be allowed on an elevator at a time.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizers upon departing an elevator.
- Use the stairs whenever possible and do not congregate in entrances, stairways and elevator lobbies.
Transportation and Parking
- Parking will remain available in lots throughout campus for employees and students through July 31. Permit and hourly fees for students, employees and daily visitors will not be charged through this period when parking regulations are not in effect. Fire lanes and reserved spaces, including accessibility spaces, are not available for parking without the appropriate credentials. Parking regulations for campus will go into effect on August 1.
- UNC’s transit partners have made several operational changes, including requiring face masks and reducing occupancy. Learn more at the Town of Chapel Hill’s dedicated COVID-19 transit page or find a list of transit partners on our Roadmap page.
- Beginning June 8, 2020, the Gillings School began a phased reopening of campus-based laboratory operations, with up to 50% onsite occupancy allowed in each lab. For more information on campus-wide guidance related to research, please visit, Resuming Research on UNC Campus and Direction and Guidance for Conducting Laboratory-Based Research on Campus.
We will communicate UNC Gillings-related COVID-19 updates with UNC Gillings constituents via email, Gillings Weekly News, COVID Conversations via Zoom and on the Return to Gillings Roadmap webpage.
For more information about Symptoms Monitoring, Work Scheduling, and Personal Safety Practices in the Workplace, please visit the Gillings Phase I Return to Campus: Draft Guidance Document webpage, dated June 19, 2020.
For more updates on campuswide guidance related to research, please visit, Resuming Research on UNC Campus and Direction and Guidance for Conducting Laboratory-Based Research on Campus.
All UNC Gillings orientation sessions will be held online. Tentatively scheduled for August 5-7, orientation consists of several interactive sessions. For more information, check our orientation webpage.
The Fall 2020 Course Schedule was released on July 1; any final changes will be completed by July 15. The Course Schedule provides clarification about delivery methods for each class. We are installing technologies in UNC Gillings classrooms to ensure online access to in-person courses for students who need to participate remotely. Ideally, these technologies will be in place by August 10. If not, instructors will implement workarounds to allow for remote participation either through recordings or live synchronous zoom-ins.
- School leaders are working to determine which classes will also be available in person or as a hybrid (for example, with remote lecture but face-to-face recitations). We will base decisions on University guidance, instructor and student input, class size, room availability, scheduling feasibility, and other factors.
- If needed (due to a dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases), we will be ready to pivot any/all classes to remote.
- We anticipate being able to accommodate students who cannot be on campus or take face-to-face classes due to an underlying health condition.
Student employees with an underlying health condition may request an accommodation with Accessibility Resources and Services. Those seeking an accommodation for other reasons may request permission from the lead instructor to meet their TA responsibilities remotely or from their faculty or staff supervisor. Faculty and supervisors have been asked to be flexible and accommodate such requests where feasible. If a UNC Gillings supervisor denies a student’s request for an accommodation, the student can contact their academic program director or department chair.
U.S. laws and tax regulations make it very difficult for students working internationally as RAs and TAs to be paid for such work. The latest guidance is available at UNC Global.
Fall Grading Policy
To be consistent with recommendations from the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gillings School will return to traditional grading for all undergraduates who take classes at UNC Gillings, and for all graduate students.
- To request accommodations or flexibility based on medical circumstances, employees should use the secure ADA accommodations process administered by the University’s EOC Office.
- Employees who need flexibility for reasons other than medical circumstances (e.g., child care matters, age, caregiving responsibilities for or cohabitating with a high-risk individual) are encouraged to work with managers, supervisors and department chairs to identify solutions that balance individual needs with those of their respective schools and units, and the University as a whole. The Academic Personnel Office, Human Resources and EOC offices are available to help employees, managers, supervisors and department chairs with these discussions and decisions, as needed.
COVID Conversation - January 10, 2022
Workshops and Resources to Prepare for the Fall Term
Many workshops, consults and resources are available to help instructors design and build their fall courses. Updated information and recordings will be available on the Remote Teaching Consultations and Training website.
As of July 1 (Phase 2), entrances, hallways and stairwells are directionally limited, and designated as one-way. Directional signs are posted at entrances and exits, and throughout the building.
This FAQs document (PDF) covers classes, course schedules and grading; facilities, study and gathering spaces; transportation; safety protocols and off ramps; and student employment.
Gillings Return-to-Campus Archived Correspondence
This correspondence includes FAQs, personal messages and updates for students, faculty and staff members.
- Letter from the Dean: Returning to Campus, Community Standards and More (July 1, 2021)
- Planning for Return to Gillings Buildings (June 15, 2021)
- Update for Gillings Faculty and Staff: Fall Semester and COVID-19 (August 5, 2020)
- Office Safety Plan Memo (July 23, 2020)
- Return to Campus Next Steps (July 22, 2020)
- The Road Ahead: Plans and Preparations for Returning to Campus (June 5, 2020)
- Return-to-Work Decision Tree (PDF)
- Gillings Office Safety Plan: Template (.doc)
- Gillings Office Safety Plan: IIS draft example (.doc)
To submit questions or provide feedback, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select student, staff or faculty below to review the compiled resources for each.