The Classroom Experience
Because the health and well-being is our highest priority, we will craft the classroom experience in adherence with the highest standards of health protocols Once that priority is met, the student academic experience will be sustained by the high quality teaching and research that our students and their families expect at UNC Asheville. COVID-19 health protocols can interrupt students’ in-person learning experience but we will address these through faculty and student input throughout the fall semester.
The academic semester begins Monday, August 10 and concludes Friday, November 20. The fall semester includes two 7.5-week sessions, with a one-day break on September 30. Faculty are being encouraged to provide midterm evaluations at the midway point.
Given scientific evidence that it is best for colleges and universities to start early and end early (to avoid a second wave of the virus and limit concurrence with flu seasons), UNC Asheville faculty and staff will frontload course work that requires particular equipment such as labs, arts resources, music studios and rehearsal spaces, kilns, and specialized, high powered computers.
Contingency plans are in place, if required, for shifting quickly from on-campus operations to fully online instruction and suspension of campus activities. The plan is based on our relatively smooth shift to online instruction during the spring semester of 2020 and we would replicate all practicable steps to implement the process again if necessary.
As students engage in internships, community engagement and service learning, all partnerships will abide by all health and virus mitigation protocols. Opportunities for remote engagement are currently being explored.
Undergraduate research – a hallmark of the UNC Asheville experience – will be sustained, but modified as necessary to support student research while adhering to health and safety protocols.
Once we return to campus, faculty will have access to all of the campus resources, reducing one barrier to engaging in their research. Others issues remain to be reviewed and decided including the ease of accessibility to supplies, books, contact with certain people (older adults, school-aged kids, etc.) and other components important to research. We will be monitoring these issues to support continuity of activity as much as possible.
Student Affairs staff will support students by developing programming that fosters a sense of belonging and creating opportunities for students to engage with each other. New programing will be designed to enhance students’ experiences whether they are living on campus or participating from a remote location. We are committed to not just supporting our students, but continuing to build community, foster a sense of belonging, and strengthening loyalty to their alma mater. Visit the Student Affairs website for information on specific Fall 2020 campus events.
We will support students and student organizations as they re-engage with each other in co-curricular activities that take place on campus, in the Asheville area or in virtual settings. We will also support our student leaders, student organizations and the campus community with training, resources and technology support.
Student Affairs staff members have been, and will continue to, regularly check in with students, helping them realize opportunities and recognize and resolve concerns as they arise. The Campus Assessment, Response, and Education (CARE) and Crisis Team, an interdisciplinary unit that works collaboratively to provide intervention, resources, and assistance to students that are struggling with their success, will continue to function as a vital service to students whether in-person or remotely.
Student Health Ambassadors
UNC Asheville received $610,000 in funding from the UNC Board of Governors HMSI Committee, through its recently announced partnership with the N.C. Policy Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill, to help fight COVID-19. The program will initiate a WNC University Health Ambassador program to engage campus communities in rapidly adopting safe, evidence-based practices to establish a culture of safety on six regional campuses in the mountains.
UNC Asheville students interested in working as health ambassadors can apply for the position via Handshake. Student health ambassadors will work with faculty, staff, and administrators and lead peers in establishing a culture of wellness and safety, with a goal of reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission on campus. Ambassadors will work as part of teams to engage in COVID-19 response, education, communication, and student support. Ambassadors will work about 10 hours a week and will be paid $12 an hour.
Communication with Parents/Families
As we move through this academic year together, we will communicate on a regular basis with parents and families so they are aware of plans and changes.
Small group programming through the creation of hybrid delivery methods (meaning they can be delivered in-person or online as the situation evolves) will be the primary focus of fall co-curricular programming.
The intentional design of UNC Asheville’s residence halls as all suites or apartment style, with a maximum of four students sharing a bathroom, allows the University to readily meet the physical distance and occupancy requirements due to COVID-19.
Roommates in residence halls will be considered as a single household and, for this reason, will not be required to wear a mask while inside their dorm room, although they are expected to wear masks or face coverings in common areas and outside of their rooms where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. A staggered move-in process by appointment extending over eleven days will be used to minimize crowds and enhance physical distancing.