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UNC Classroom Emergency Preparedness Script 2021 (View a text-only version below.)

Dear instructors,

As we prepare for the spring semester to get underway on Tuesday, we are writing to provide some reminders regarding spring 2021 syllabi and classroom policies. You may also find it helpful to refer to the email that was sent by the Office of Undergraduate Curricula on January 6 to directors of undergraduate studies.


  • Wednesday, May 5, 2021, is the last day of classes (LDOC), and the deadline for all undergraduate students to submit Pass/Low Pass/Fail declarations. To help students with their Pass/Low Pass/Fail decisions, it is critical to keep your grading records up-to-date and to return course assignments and exams in a timely way so that students can track their progress and performance in your course. This will go a long way in helping to reduce students’ anxiety at the end of the semester. You may also want to consider adjusting the due dates for some assignments to ensure adequate time for assessment and grading prior to LDOC. As referenced in the Final Examination Policy, no graded quizzes or exams (excluding in-class presentations) may be given during the last five days of the semester before the beginning of the final examination period.
  • Undergraduate students taking in-person classes must monitor their symptoms daily as described on the Carolina Together website. Instructors are encouraged to tell their students that they should not attend class if they have any symptoms, and instructors should consider it an approved absence in the spirit of flexibility and compassion and exercising an abundance of caution. Instructors can make these approvals themselves. Note: Students do not need to submit a request to the University Approved Absence Office (UAAO).


  • Please also see the important attachment above that we are including regarding emergency classroom preparedness. When you are back in the classroom, please share this information with your students. The procedures are updated to include COVID guidelines. While we hope there will not be disruptions in your classroom, it is important to prepare should an emergency situation occur.

The path to a successful spring semester relies on responsible actions by every person in our community. Thank you for your continued commitment to your students and your efforts to design and deliver high-quality undergraduate classes.



Robert A. Blouin

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost


Terry Ellen Rhodes

Dean, College of Arts & Sciences



Please read or paraphrase this presentation for each of your classes at the beginning of each semester.

Instructor Script for Class Presentation

[Beginning of Script. Read verbatim or paraphrase.]

Before we go on with our class, I want to talk about something very serious. Though unlikely, there is always a possibility that there might be some type of emergency during the semester we have together. Emergencies come in many different forms – weather, medical, fire and ones involving people intending to do harm. As you probably know from your own experience, pre-K through 12th-grade students prepare in advance for emergency situations. As college students, you too need to think in advance about emergency situations. I would like to take a few moments to talk about actions to take in the event of an emergency in our classroom setting.

[Instructors Who Will Be Meeting Students (Instructional Modes 1 and 2), please convey to students. If there is an emergency:]

I will stop teaching right away. When it is safe to do so, we will call 9-1-1 and identify our building and room number, as well as the issue. There are some areas on campus, such as indoors, where you can’t hear the siren. The first warning of an emergency may come to our attention via a messenger at the classroom door or through a personal electronic device. We are in a COVID pandemic time. However, during a classroom emergency, you may access any available building entrance or exit, and physical distancing and masking will be suspended.

If you see or experience something unusual or concerning – before, during or after class – that may lead to an emergency, please let me or another faculty member/administrator know as soon as possible. Alert me even if you have only an inkling that something may not be right. It is very important that you make me aware.

In a weather emergency, you may or may not hear the siren. If you are inside, move to an interior room on the lowest floor, and stay away from windows.

In a medical/mental health emergency, please make space for first responders to do their work. UNC Police, Fire Department and EMS respond to all medical calls on campus.

In the case of fire, do not attempt to carry anything in your hands. Exit quickly in as orderly a way as possible. Help others as much as possible.

In a situation in which one or more people intend to do harm, assess the situation and make a decision. Unfortunately, there may not be a clear “right” answer. However, your circumstances may make one of these actions the only viable option to protect yourself.

  • RUN: Have an escape route and plan in mind, leave your belongings behind, keep your hands visible, exit the building as quickly and safely as possible, distancing yourself from the threat, and follow law enforcement’s direction.
  • HIDE: If you cannot safely evacuate your building or are unsure of the location of the threat, secure your room, classroom or office, creating as many barriers between you and the threat. If you are caught outside, seek shelter inside the nearest building, and secure an interior space. Take the following actions: Lock or secure doors, turn off lights, move into concealed areas of the room away from doors and windows, silence your mobile de-vices and/or pagers, and remain calm and quiet.
  • FIGHT: Use this as a last resort if your life is in imminent danger. If there are no other options to safely escape and you are confronted by the intruder, attempt to disrupt or incapacitate the intruder using all available resources (e.g., acting aggressively, yelling, throwing items, improvising weapons).

If you need to exit the building in an emergency, seek cover behind buildings, cars and other solid structures – go as far away as possible while still staying safe. Keep going until you know that you are out of danger.

If you are a trained professional in emergency procedures, I encourage you to assist when you are able to do so.

Here is what you need to do next: Take the time you need to identify the different entrances and exits in this room and this building. [POINT TO EACH EXIT IN THE ROOM.] There are many ways in and out of this building. The next time you come to class, think about possible routes. Try different routes so you are aware. I know this is a lot to digest. Does anyone have any questions before we go back to our work? I will do my best to answer your questions. [RESPOND TO QUESTIONS.]

UNC maintains a lot of information on safety. You can learn more at



Instructor Follow-Up

Please follow this link to provide feedback after you have presented the material to your class:

Let us know:

  • Your comments about the script.
  • Questions about the materials – from you or your students.
  • Additional steps we can take to improve these instructions.

If you would like a response to a question or issue, please let us know so we can respond before your next class session.

Prepared by faculty and administrators in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences and offices of Campus Safety and Risk Management, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Dean of Students. Last Updated 1-15-2021

Contact: Derek Kemp, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety & Risk Management,


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