Plans for fall 2021

Dear Campus Community,

It’s hard to believe that around this time last year, our classrooms emptied, our stages went dark, our concert halls fell silent, and our way of life changed so drastically.

I am so proud of the enormous strides that our campus has made in overcoming the challenges of the past year. We’ve discovered new ways to teach, to learn, and to create art. We’ve persevered to discover a resilience within that we never knew we had.

Students have completed almost a full year on campus — an extraordinary achievement during a pandemic. I thank all of you for stepping up when needed and congratulate you for reaching this milestone. It means that we’ll soon be celebrating an in-person but socially distanced commencement with the University and High School classes of 2021, plus their families and friends.

While we can’t predict what will happen with the pandemic, I am confident in where we are going and our current planning for a more typical residential arts and academic experience for fall 2021. We are hopeful that will include more face-to-face classes, rehearsals and shoots; students studying, relaxing and socializing in our residence halls and apartments; busy campus buildings with normal hours; and staff back in offices instead of having to rely on teleworking. And perhaps most important of all, we will be able to present the work of our talented student-artists in person again.

Granted, we will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of North Carolina, and the UNC System Office to ensure that our return to “normal” is done safely and responsibly. The COVID-19 vaccine is critical to that effort, so I encourage all of you to receive your vaccination as soon as you’re eligible. If you are an employee or a student and did not already qualify under Groups 1-3, you will qualify under Phase 2 of Group 4, which begins today. Visit the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website to learn more about the groups, and to learn how to find local vaccine providers near you. As previously announced to students, our on-campus student vaccination event will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 1. 

We are now starting to see some light at the end of this tunnel but the pandemic is not over, and it’s important that we continue to follow our Community Health Standards through the end of the semester. I urge everyone on our campus to keep up the good work, stay vigilant, and finish this year with resilience and grit.


Brian Cole 

March 31, 2021