Updated: March 22, 2021
As we begin the final six weeks of the spring 2021 semester, COVID-19 cases across the state are declining and the number of individuals vaccinated continues to increase. We intend to return to regular campus operations in the fall, including a return to academic instruction and co-curricular activities that are predominantly in person on campus.
In consultation with the UNC System, the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services, and our trusted healthcare partners at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and given the low number of cases on campus and our shared commitment to our UNC Asheville Community Expectations, we have begun planning to resume typical operations in the fall, although it is likely we may keep many of our current COVID-19 safety precautions in place.
Under guidelines recently shared by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, vaccine eligibility is also expanding:
Faculty and Staff: Faculty and staff who did not meet the criteria for “front line essential worker” in Group 3 because they were not working on-campus will become eligible in the second portion of Group 4, expected to start on April 7.
Students: Students who live in group living settings (congregate living), including residence halls will become eligible in the second portion of Group 4, expected to start on April 7. Students who live in rented houses and large apartment complexes with other students are considered to live in congregate settings.
Individuals with Higher Risks: People between 16-64 who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 are eligible in the first portion of Group 4, which opened on March 17.
As soon as you are eligible, we strongly encourage you to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is the best way to protect our community and ensure we can resume normal campus operations. Visit the NCDHHS website to learn more about priority groups and eligibility.
Our plans for the fall are contingent on ongoing positive trends regarding the management and treatment of COVID-19. We remain hopeful as we continue to plan for a typical fall semester, but we also recognize there may be a need to pivot our plans if necessary. Thank you for your continued resilience and patience as we embark on this next phase of planning for the 2021-22 academic year.
We will provide additional information in the coming weeks and months as we continue to monitor the pandemic and continue to plan for the fall 2021 semester.