The following post includes updated information that clarifies return-to-campus testing and contacting Campus Health regarding positive COVID tests. This post was last updated Jan. 6, 2022.
Happy new year, and welcome back to Carolina for your spring semester!
As you know, we are once again starting with COVID-related conditions. As the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, I am writing to provide you with guidance for the spring 2022 semester. Classes start on Monday, Jan. 10. I stand with Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and affirm the College’s commitment to in-person instruction this semester. At the same time, I recognize the need for flexibility in our community as all of you come back to campus to reconvene as a residential community.
Especially for all of you as undergraduate students, in-person instruction is so important for Spring 2022. After four semesters of COVID-related disruptions, in-person classes provide the richest chance for you to learn from one another and from your instructors and to build on these vital relationships. Our instructors understand the importance of an in-person experience, even if there may be short-term shifts to online learning this spring.
Due to the increased transmission rate of omicron, I will support instructors across the College of Arts & Sciences as they respond to conditions during the semester. As such, instructors in the College may need to teach remotely at different times as classroom conditions warrant.
- Your instructors have been asked to add this language to each course syllabus: Spring 2022 Course Delivery: As long as it is possible to do so safely, we will be meeting in person this semester. I understand the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may require changes to this plan and will be monitoring the situation closely. If I need to change the format of the course temporarily due to outbreaks of illness, I will announce this via email and the course Sakai site.
- A COVID test is required for all unvaccinated students and for students living in campus residential housing prior to returning to campus. (For students living off campus, testing is strongly encouraged, but not required, prior to returning to campus.) See CarolinaTogether for more information about re-entry testing. Plan ahead: Spring classes begin on Monday, Jan. 10. Be sure that you attend your first and second class sessions so you can hold your place in the course. Your instructors will communicate how the course will be taught in the first week (in person or remotely). Students who do not attend the first two classes risk being dropped from the class to make room for students on the waitlist. If you are ill or have an excused absence, let the instructor know in advance of the first class session.
- Your best protection is to get your booster (third vaccination) shot and wear your mask as much as possible, especially while indoors. UNC is the nation’s leader in infectious disease research, and our experts are as clear as can be on this topic: Your best protection against COVID is to get your booster shot and to wear a mask indoors.
- Your course may be delivered remotely at specific points in the semester. Your instructors have the most information about their courses, and whether a given class session will be best delivered in person or remotely. It is the instructor’s decision how each session is delivered, so follow their lead. Please follow your email and Sakai announcements closely for changes and updates this semester.
- You may be absent due to omicron at some point in the semester. From what we know about the omicron variant, we expect transmission among students to occur, especially during the next two months. CDC guidance indicates that for many, the symptoms will range from non-existent/mild to moderate, and the isolation period will be about a week. If you miss class due to omicron, notify your instructor. It will be an excused absence for a week. You can make up class sessions and course assessments by getting notes from other students, reviewing a recorded lecture, and listening to a livestream if one is available. Instructors are not required to record or stream their in-person class. If you missed an exam due to your absence, work with your instructor on how to handle the missed exam. You may need to take an alternate version of the exam at the Undergraduate Testing Center.
- Your instructor may be absent due to omicron at some point in the semester. If this happens, your instructor will let their department chair know and can use the instructional time in different ways such as: (a) Asking a colleague to step in, (b) inviting a guest lecturer to contribute on a topic relevant to the course’s student learning outcomes, (c) scheduling a supplemental lecture or discussion session to be delivered online, (d) showing a previous recording of the lecture, and (e) providing a reasonable set of instructional activities for you to complete.
- If you are experiencing cold, flu or COVID symptoms, do not attend class. Email your instructor(s) to let them know why you are not attending. Find a friend in your course who can help you get notes and brief you on what occurred in class.
- If you are COVID-positive, please visit the Campus Health resources page and click on “If your test result is positive – isolate.” There you will find detailed isolation instructions for any student that tests positive whether you live in the residence halls or off-campus, including information about housing, dining, class absences and other helpful resources. It is important for students who are not able to attend or participate in classes to contact their instructors as soon as possible. If you no longer have symptoms or your symptoms are resolving, you may discontinue your isolation after five days and return to in-person classes. You are advised to wear your mask whenever you are around others for an additional five days following the end of your isolation period.
We are excited to provide rich and meaningful educational experiences to you this semester as you work to achieve your academic goals, which for some of you will be graduation this May.
My best wishes to you for a successful start of the semester.
Terry Ellen Rhodes, Dean
College of Arts & Sciences