Encouraged by COVID-19 metrics moving in the right direction locally and the increasing rollout of vaccines, the university is aiming for a full return to in-person instruction for fall 2021, the university announced Friday.
"We are encouraged by the increasing pace of the vaccine rollout and decreasing trend in COVID-19 case counts locally," the university wrote in a statement.
The university plans to finalize its details on return in the coming weeks and months as time progresses within the pandemic. Officials noted that there is "some level of uncertainty with this virus until it is controlled" and will keep their plans fluid.
#UNC is planning for a Fall 2021 semester that will be a more typical residential academic experience, with the goal of a full return to in-person instruction. We'll likely need to maintain many of our current safety precautions. Please read for more info: https://t.co/mtUjGQkYuV pic.twitter.com/JPKEYGA9kH— UNC-Chapel Hill (@UNC) March 5, 2021
In the meantime, the school shared these steps on preparing for the next semester:
- Courses: Fall registration for continuing students will begin on June 1. This timing will allow deans, department chairs and instructors the maximum amount of time to plan for the fall. With safety measures in place and far-reaching access to vaccines, we expect a return to in-person instruction and a more typical academic experience on campus this fall.
- Housing: Carolina Housing will have an increased number of students on campus this fall. Housing applications are now open and our residence halls will be operating at near-normal capacity, still with many safety protocols in place, including a maximum of double occupancy in rooms.
- Safety: We will maintain many of our COVID-19 Community Standards based on the conditions and guidance of our public health and infectious disease experts in late summer/early fall. For example:
- Masks may be required on campus.
- The Carolina Together Testing Program and testing protocols for students accessing campus will most likely remain in place. We will continue to set aside two housing facilities as quarantine and isolation space.
"Our sustained ability to follow our COVID-19 Community Standards and to comply with our Carolina Together Testing Program requirements will be a critical component of our planning for fall," UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz wrote in a statement.
The university was forced to shift to entirely virtual classes in mid-August of 2020, since then students have slowly eased back onto campus at a limited capacity.