Health & Safety

What personal protective equipment is available?

We have a community expectation that those coming to campus will wear a face covering or mask.

Face masks or facial coverings that cover the mouth and nose must be worn when in the presence of others and in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. common workspaces, classrooms, meeting rooms), and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.

Employees, students and visitors may wear their own cloth masks or face coverings if they prefer. Cloth masks or face coverings should be washed daily, and the fabric design or pattern should be appropriate for the workplace.

The University will provide two cloth face coverings each for employees and students.

All visitors to UNC Asheville, including vendors and service providers, will be expected to abide by all campus health and virus mitigation protocols. Disposable face masks will be given to visitors, including delivery vendors and others providing service to campus, who do not have their own masks or appropriate facial coverings that they wish to wear. If the mask becomes damaged or visibly soiled, the face mask should be replaced.

Disposable face masks are not meant to be laundered. Persons using such masks must not touch their face after removing the mask and must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer, after removing the mask.

Even with a face mask or other personal protective equipment, continue to keep 6 feet between yourself and others. A cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Employees should also wear a mask in any group of two or more and practice social distancing throughout their workday, as well as follow the three Ws – wear, wash and wait. Congregating in small or confined spaces can increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Where face masks are not feasible, for instance, when a faculty member needs to speak to a class, alternate means of personal protection such as face shields may be worn. Physical barriers or screens may also be installed in frequently used areas.

Will face masks be required?

All members of the campus community must wear a face mask or face covering as part of our shared commitment to mutual respect and care for all. Wear face coverings consistently and appropriately in all public spaces including classrooms, labs, academic, athletic, and student union buildings.

Faculty, staff and students may ask others to wear a mask and practice social distancing or may choose to leave the area and communicate by other means such as a phone call, email or video meeting.

The Office of State Human Resources has stated that all state employees who are able to do so are expected to wear cloth face coverings at all times while inside your worksite, unless you are alone in your office or personal space.

Face coverings will be required of all of us – that is now a state mandated requirement for all employees of the state and as of June 24 the Governor has required masks.

If individuals forget their face mask, disposable masks will be available. If individuals do not wear their face covering, they may be asked to leave based on community expectations.

Are masks required outside or in public place when the wearer is alone?

You should wear your mask and socially distance at all times unless you are in your residence hall or in your office alone. Best practice is to wear your mask outside too – in any public place and in any interaction with anyone.

Can face shields be used instead of masks?

Face shields do not replace the need for a cloth face covering; however, they are an acceptable accommodation for students, faculty, or staff with legitimate health issues which prevent them from wearing masks (per ADA guidelines).

Wearing a face mask is the CDC’s recommended best practice; however, occasionally additional or alternative safety measures may be needed to address certain situations.  Where face masks are not feasible, for example, when a faculty member needs to speak to a class or an accommodation based on medical reasons is needed, alternate means of personal protection such as face shields may be worn (with appropriate physical distancing and/or other protective measures). Physical barriers or screens may also be installed in frequently used areas.

When and how do we get face shields for in-person instructors?

Faculty and staff can request a face shield through their Emergency Operations Center representative.

If I’m meeting with students for 10-20 minutes at a time, with a distance of at least eight feet, do we wear masks?

Yes, we would encourage you to wear masks to establish and maintain our campus culture and commitment to mask-wearing in all circumstances where you interact with others.

Do we have an approval process for medical exceptions to wearing a mask?

Please contact if you have this request.

What social distancing standards are in place?

The campus community will be encouraged to practice social distancing, with a standard 6 feet distance. Buildings will have designated entrances and exits and one-way hallways and stairways to encourage social distance, particularly during high-traffic times.

If you have accessibility requirements that may include the need to have special access to a restroom, access to a specific building entrance or exit, direct access to stairs or elevators, please move throughout the building as needed, while maintaining social distancing.

Some classrooms and areas may require additional social distancing or health precautions due to the activities that occur.

Has any of the University’s purchased hand sanitizer been recalled?

In July, Campus Operations confirmed with the hand sanitizer vendors that the products provided to campus have not been a part of any recall to date.

What precautions will be in place for public restrooms?

We’ll follow the example and protocol of health care facilities.

Will water fountains be available?

Touchless water-bottle filling stations will be available in many campus buildings, but other water fountains will be turned off.

Touchless water-bottle filling stations are located in Brown Hall, Chestnut Hall, Founders Hall, Mills Hall, Governors Hall, Highsmith Student Union, Ponder Hall, Rhoades Robinson Hall, Sam Millar Facilities Complex, the Reuter Center, the Sherrill Center, Southridge Hall, the Student Recreation Center, Vance Hall, Westridge Hall, and 118 W.T. Weaver.

Are flu shots available on-campus this year?

The annual flu shot clinic for faculty and staff is scheduled for October 14, 2020. Bring your insurance card and a photo ID. New this year: No one under the age of 18 will be permitted in the clinic.

Has there been any consideration for analyzing wastewater as part of our COVID testing process?

Yes, our Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations has identified well-established evidence to support this work and drafted a proposal to implement wastewater treatment analysis, in collaboration with our Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, as well as three area sewer districts and regional universities, but as of early September, the proposal has not been funded for implementation. 

Community Expectations

Please see the UNC Asheville Expectations of Mutual Respect & Care for All.

How will we enforce the community standards?

We know that wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and social distancing can be effective.

The community standards may be a part of a course syllabus.

  1. If someone is not wearing a face covering, the first step would be to point out that face coverings are available.
  2. Remind them that face coverings are required.
  3. If they refuse, you may ask them to leave. 
  4. If they refuse to leave and all other options have been exhausted, the class or meeting could be cancelled.
  5. The student should be reported to the disciplinary process for follow up. Employees should be reported to HR.

Are masks still required where plexiglass is in place?

The use of plexiglass is a best practice, but the research has not been completed to show that it should replace other measures. Students and employees will still be required to wear face masks in classrooms and public spaces.

How will the University face masks be distributed?

All students and employees will receive two face masks each and a refillable bottle of hand-sanitizer. These supplies will be distributed by department for employees, starting in August. Students will receive their packets when they check into the residence halls in August and in January. Non-residential students can pick up their packet from the Highsmith Student Union info desk, beginning in August. New employees can request a packet from Human Resources. 

In terms of computer labs, who will be responsible for disinfecting those keyboards?

In shared spaces, we are asking individuals to clean their own spaces, much the same way that they would gym equipment. Wipes will be available to use before and after they any high-touch surface. Hand-sanitizer will also be available nearby.

How will COVID-positive cases be communicated with the campus community?

We will abide by all HIPPA laws and protect the privacy of individuals, and we will provide weekly updates with the information we are able to share. Please see the Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 page for more information. 

Cleaning & Disinfecting

What is the cleaning schedule for classrooms and shared spaces, including restrooms?

See the Campus Operations, Cleaning & Disinfecting page for information.

What’s the procedure for requesting cleaning supplies for our classrooms and labs?

See the Campus Operations, Cleaning & Disinfecting page for information.

My department needs additional cleaning supplies. How do I order those?

Departments should continue to order cleaning supplies for normal operation through the typical purchasing process, but any requests specific to COVID-19, such as PPE or specialized disinfectant should be requested through your Emergency Operation Center Representative.

What if I have questions about the HVAC system in my building?

Campus Operations has been closely monitoring building reopening guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, among other professional and trade organizations. Prior to the start of the fall semester, all HVAC systems are being inspected for proper operation to ensure they are providing appropriate ventilation while maintaining conditions that promote indoor air quality, and all air filters will be replaced.