As the hysteria surrounding the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads around the globe, the UNC system has been closely monitoring the developing situation. On March 10, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) posted a notification to Canvas that all students, staff and faculty should pay close attention to coming announcements, and that the university administration would update the university community as the situation developed.
On March 10, UNCG sent out a message updating the campus on the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, including that there was no imminent danger to the university but that everyone should be on high alert. The university created a ‘coronavirus website,’ linked in the email, that students, staff and faculty could utilize for keeping up with new information.
The UNC System also established a coordinating group to manage the coronavirus situation.
“UNCG is in close contact with local, state and UNC System officials, including the System’s Coronavirus Coordinating Group appointed last week by Interim UNC President Bill Roper to identify, evaluate and coordinate a consistent, evidence-based and effective response,” wrote UNCG officials in the March 10 email. “We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”
On the evening of March 11, UNCG sent out a follow-up email announcing that, beginning on March 16, face-to-face classes would be suspended for one week. In addition to this, the message added that all classes that are able to be delivered in an online format would begin instruction online on March 23. According to the university, labs and classes that are unable to be converted into an online format, will still continue instruction in a face-to-face setting.
The university also issued a recommendation for residential students.
“Where possible, students who live on campus, especially in traditional residence halls and suites (those without kitchens) are strongly encouraged to make arrangements to return home or move off campus ideally by Sunday, March 15, and until further notice. Those students who will resume face-to-face classes on March 23 will be able to remain in residence halls,” the message read.
This measure is intended to prevent the spread of illness in spaces where many students are living close together and come into contact with one another frequently. While students are encouraged to vacate residence halls and suites before March 15, UNCG stressed that no student would be left without a viable living option, and that they understood the fact that a number of students do not have a place to go beyond their campus accomodations.
UNCG promised to update the campus community on or before the morning of Friday, March 12
Students have mixed views on the university’s course of action: while some feel that encouraging students to vacate campus and shifting instruction to an online setting is a necessary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other illnesses, others feel that the response is playing into mass hysteria and is an overreaction to the issue at hand.
In the meantime, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following measures for keeping healthy and minimizing the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Cover your cough with a tissue or sneeze/cough into your elbow.
- Do not share food.
- Keep exercise equipment and other shared items clean.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.