Spring semester planning update

Categories: Chancellor's Messages

Dear Niner Nation,

As we approach the winter break, I want to provide an update on spring semester and what you can expect over the next several weeks.

Our current plan

As we announced on Oct. 19, our plan is to start the semester on Jan. 20 with a combination of online, face-to-face and hybrid classes. We will continue with these methods of instruction until spring break, March 29 to April 3, with all classes moving to remote delivery following that week.

This is still our plan; however, I want to be candid with you that actual and projected COVID-19 cases in our area may require us to pivot quickly, potentially impacting our planned academic schedule and spring break.

An evolving situation

Right now, as I am sure you have seen widely reported, cases of the virus continue to rise in the county, state and nation. While we have been able to maintain an on-campus positivity rate of approximately 2% during the fall semester, we must be mindful of larger community circumstances in our decision making.

As we have always said, the health and safety of our campus community are paramount in all we do.

We are reviewing all available data daily, and we are in close communication with local and state health officials and the UNC System Office as we monitor a very fluid situation.

You have been incredibly patient as we navigated the fall together, and I ask for your support again as we continue to monitor the current situation and ensure we are using the latest information to guide decisions that keep our students, faculty and staff safe.

Next steps

It is unlikely we will be able to make decisions about any needed changes to the spring schedule until early January.

Our next update to you will be no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11, to allow time to assess the latest data following the winter holidays.

While we know you may have questions prior to Jan. 11 based on potential scenarios, our various divisions, including Academic Affairs and Housing and Residence Life, will not be able to speculate on answers prior to this date.

We are committed to updating you as quickly as we can, and we have planned a series of town halls to provide you with more information as we work through this situation together:

As previously announced, we will have COVID-19 re-entry testing prior to the start of spring classes. We will share additional details about testing requirements by Jan. 11 as well.

This has been a year of change and uncertainty, but it has also been a year of innovation and resilience for our University. There is light at the end of this tunnel for us — it just may take a few more turns and a good deal of teamwork before we reach it. We will get there, Niners.

Please continue to take good care of yourself and those you love.


Sharon L. Gaber