Education

UNC-Chapel Hill school leaders say they will require face masks on campus

Posted June 10, 2020 11:56 a.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2020 5:03 p.m. EDT

— Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held a meeting Wednesday to discuss changes coming to the classroom and campus during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin M. Guskiewicz, chancellor of the University, said employees and students will be screened in some way before returning to campus.

School leaders are also looking at the possibility of holding remote and hybrid courses to help with social distancing. Anyone at the university will be required to wear a mask.

"The regular wearing of face masks and practicing physical distancing and vigilance with personal hygiene and more," Guskiewicz said. "We have a team that is working very closely on this to put forward the best community standards."

Large event spaces and event tents could be used to keep down crowding in places like dining halls -- to try and limit social interaction and the spread of COVID-19.

Guskiewicz said it is unclear how social distancing and the required masks will be enforced.

"I have been asked -- can this be considered for an honor code expectation and a violation of it if students aren't wearing their masks -- and everything is on the table," Guskiewicz said.

There will be a webinar on Thursday where students can give their feedback to university's plans.

"We are going to need to have a set of standards that we can say were agreed upon by members of our community -- faculty, staff and students," Guskiewicz said. "This is the expectation to come back to campus and work here, learn here and hopefully thrive here."

The university is offering online instruction for students who can't attend classes -- that's immunocompromised students, international students who can't travel to the US, or students who just aren't able to reach campus

The fall semester will start on August 10 and final exams will end no later than November 24. Starting early and ending early is to "stay ahead" of a potential second wave of the virus. Through July 15, no events are allowed on campus.

Guskiewicz said he doesn't know yet how he will enforce visitors coming onto Chapel Hill's campus.

"This is a public university as you well know and it is open to anyone who wants to visit," he said.

University leaders are also planning for a worst-case-scenario: what would happen if their plan doesn't work and there is a resurgence of the virus.

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