FAQ: General

Updated on March 26, 2020

UNC Asheville and University partners (Buncombe County Health Department, North Carolina’s State Health Department, UNC System, Mission Hospital, and other local health agencies) are planning ahead and are responding as the situation evolves.

General Information

What is Novel Coronavirus?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Who is at higher risk for contracting COVID-19? What should I do if I’m at higher risk?

Based on information from the CDC, early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who are immunosuppressed.
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

As a community, we understand there are diverse needs of students, faculty and staff. Individuals with chronic medical conditions may have concerns about their health during this time of uncertainty.  Please contact your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your particular situation. Besides taking the usual hand/respiratory hygiene precautions and social distancing, the CDC has additional advice to help keep you healthy and safe.

How can I best protect myself?

The CDC recommends following the same guidelines as flu prevention:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What should I do if I’m sick?

Anyone who has returned from an affected region within the past 14 days and is sick with fever and a cough, or is having difficulty breathing, should seek medical care immediately. Contact the UNC Asheville Health and Counseling Center at 828.251.6520 – before coming to the clinic in person – so we can maximize treatment effectiveness while reducing the potential risk of exposing others.

I feel anxious about the possibility of exposure from people who I think may have been exposed. How can I find help?

It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis. It is important to remember to not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms, travel history or identity. For students struggling with anxiety, they can reach out to UNC Asheville Health and Counseling Center at 828.251.6520.

As a community, we understand there are diverse needs of students, faculty and staff. Individuals with chronic medical conditions may have concerns about their health during this time of uncertainty. Please contact your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your particular situation. Besides taking the usual hand/respiratory hygiene precautions and social distancing, the CDC has additional advice to help keep you healthy and safe.

What cleaning measures is the University taking?

The University routinely uses cleaning products designed to reduce the spread of many diseases. The CDC recommends EPA-registered hospital disinfectants, and routine cleaning and disinfection procedures to prevent the spread of viruses, including the one that causes COVID-2019.

In an effort to reduce the overall spread seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, we have increased the frequency of cleaning in public areas and have ensured EPA-registered hospital disinfectants are consistently used to clean residence halls, classrooms, offices, public spaces and other facilities and equipment.

Has anyone in the University been affected?

UNC Asheville has been notified by the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services that a UNC Asheville student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has not been on campus since March 6, and we are confident that there is no risk to the campus as a result of this particular case. The student lives off campus and is currently managing treatment and self-quarantining for the appropriate amount of time based on North Carolina Department of Health guidelines.

How is the University keeping me updated?

We will post updates to this website: coronavirus.unca.edu. Information will also be sent via email to faculty, staff, students, and their families.

National and global health updates can be reviewed at the CDC’s website.

What does it mean that spring break is extended?

There will be no academic instruction offered the week of March 16. We strongly encourage students to remain off campus, but UNC Asheville is open. Classes will resume virtually on March 23.

I’m feeling anxious about social-distancing and isolation. What can I do?

General Resources
The CDC webpage on managing anxiety and stress provides a practical overview of self-care and resources. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a comprehensive information and resource guide that addresses self-care and community/national resources.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tip sheet answers questions about COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

The American Psychological Association website offers resources and links of various types.

The World Health Organization has a 20-page guide focused on addressing mental health aspects of COVID-19.

Daily Strategies
The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends daily strategies for self-care and awareness. Following is a summary of general recommendations:

  • Space. Create a structured, dedicated work environment, and include regular patterns of self-care.
  • Routine. Try to maintain a routine that reflects your normal day routine, including how you dress and structured breaks for lunch and mini-breaks.
  • Activity. Regular exercise and mindfulness activities are key during times of crisis. Exercise and mindfulness activities help mitigate depression and anxiety while improving cognition and confidence. Develop a daily routine for both, even if this is as simple as a 15-minute walk and/or quiet time with deep breathing.
  • Time and Energy Management. Be mindful of over- or under-working. Try to structure your daily work in a way that mirrors your normal workplace hours. In addition to time management, be aware of the way in which you eat, self-talk, and communicate with others. Self-compassion and self-care provide stability and confidence.
  • Accessibility. Develop ways in which you are accessible to colleagues, friends and family.
  • Face Time and Connectivity. Humans need to feel and be connected. Utilize video tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Facebook and WhatsApp to connect visually.
  • Resources. Map out your important resources, ranging from daily necessities to emergency management.
  • Support. The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness website provides a comprehensive guide to national and local resources. Know that there is help when needed.

Self-care is crucial in times of stress. We hope these resources are helpful as we all try to adapt to the evolving nature of this situation. Be well and please take care of yourselves and one another.

What food resources are available?

School Lunch Resources (as of March 23):

  • Buncombe County Schools has begun breakfast and lunch programs. Children ages 2-18 can eat for free. Breakfast is 7:30-8:30 a.m.; lunch is 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Call 828-255-5932 for delivery questions.
  • Asheville City Schools began delivery March 17 to the following locations from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Grab-and-go pickup meals will be available at no cost to children ages 2-18 at 12 school sites, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students can pick up meals just outside school entrances at the following sites:
  • Beginning March 18, the Meals On the Bus mobile feeding site will operate its traditional summer route, stopping at six neighborhoods on the following schedule:
  • Families who lack transportation should contact their child’s school so HCPS staff can deliver meals to their children.

The following private restaurants in Western North Carolina have offered free school lunches; as conditions change daily, please call to confirm offers are still available.

  • Old Europe downtown will offer a free breakfast pastry and juice to any school-aged child from 7 a.m.-noon. 13 Broadway St., 828-255-5999.
  • White Duck Taco Shop: One free regular priced taco for school-age children per day, River Arts District location, Monday-Friday for lunch or dinner. (828) 254-1398
  • Baked Pie Company: Brown bag lunches will be available for school-age children, Tuesday-Saturday. Available at the Arden location, 4 Long Shoals Road from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Call ahead for curbside pickup: 828-333-4366.
  • Biscuit Head will offer one free biscuit to any school-age child each day schools are closed. Call 828-505-3449. Pick up at 417 Biltmore Ave., suite 4F.
  • ConoSur: This Mills River restaurant will serve one free burger and fries to kids while schools are closed. Children have to be present. This restaurant has shifted to takeout only, noon-6 p.m.. 4195 Haywood Road, Mills River. www.conosurasheville.com. 828-513-1731.
  • Strada Italiano: Now through the end of March, this restaurant will offer a free slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza to grade-school students during weekday lunch. The offer is available for curbside service only. The restaurant opens at noon. Call 828-348-8448 to order. 27 Broadway St.
  • Sand Hill Kitchen: Call 828-633-6868 to request a free bagged lunch. Lunches include peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an apple, house-fried chips and pickles. Pick up in the drive thru at 491 Sardis Road. Visit https://kitchenforkidz.com.
  • Pescado’s Burritos: This Brevard restaurant offers free tacos for kids in need while schools are closed. 265 N Broad St., Brevard 828-884-5559.