Health & Safety Guidance

The UNC System is prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff above all other considerations.  We are taking the necessary precautions to ensure our campuses are safe spaces to teach, study, live, and work.  No one can accurately predict what this pandemic will have in store for us in the coming months but our institutions will be ready and prepared for the full range of potential impacts.

See general guidance from the UNC System based on the CDC’s recommendations for institutions of higher learning.

Personal Protection Requirements

If you are sick, you must stay home. Please follow the current CDC guidance for symptoms of COVID-19, and assess your health before coming to campus.

All employees should follow CDC guidance, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service directions, and practice the 3Ws:

  • Wear a cloth face covering.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wait at least six feet apart and avoid close contact with others.

Face Masks

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. These were distributed with a pocket-size bottle of hand sanitizer in August, and will be distributed to new hires during Onboarding and to new students in January.

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 (with appropriate physical distancing and/or other protective measures). Physical barriers or screens may also be installed in frequently used areas.


Hand hygiene throughout the day is critical, especially after touching public surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, railings, desks, equipment), after sneezing or coughing, after using the bathroom, and before and after eating.

Hand-washing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed throughout all campus buildings, particularly near elevators, restrooms and common areas. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after you have been in public spaces, after touching commonly used surfaces or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face.

If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face. Also wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Physical or Social Distance

The standard guidance is to keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others. This distance may increase depending on the activity.

Temperature Checks

The University will provide voluntary temperature screenings for all students, faculty, staff, and guests who enter University buildings at several locations and times throughout each week. The academic environmental and safety professional staff, individual unit staff, and the UNC Asheville Student Health Ambassadors will partner to offer these voluntary temperature checks across campus.

Individuals who register a temperature at 100.4 or above will be asked not to enter the building and to return to their residence and self-isolate for the rest of the day. They will be instructed to take their temperature again the following day and if it registers over 100.4 degrees, they should contact their medical provider.

Gloves, Goggles, Face Shields

Health care workers will follow the current guidelines established by the CDC and OSHA which are specific to protection from COVID-19.

The use of gloves is not required unless your supervisor has directed you to wear them. Remember that gloves do not give the wearer immunity, and any germs that might be on your gloves can be transferred to other surfaces. To avoid cross-contamination, safely remove gloves immediately after use. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.

Staff do not need to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Again, good hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for non-health care environments. Goggles or face shields may be an option or encouraged in some settings, such as labs.

Screens and Physical Dividers

Larger screens and physical barriers may be installed in common-use areas to provide separate office/study spaces, or increase health and safety in customer services. Please contact Campus Operations with your requests.

Practice Good Hygiene

If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.