Keep Learning: Students

Keep Learning: Students

The transition to remote and online learning will be challenging for all of us. Our current situation is unprecedented, forcing us into unchartered territory as we each do our best to maintain academic continuity in a totally virtual environment. Doing this amidst uncertainty about the virus itself, changes in living situations, and concerns about loved ones makes it even more challenging. UNCSA’s goal during this time is to continue to provide the highest level of support, assistance and understanding for our students. We are committed to making sure that you have every opportunity to succeed. Please try to be as patient as possible as we navigate through this transition together.

In this section, learn what you can expect from and do to succeed in this new environment. We are continuously updating this site, so please continue to check back.

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UNCSA's Plans for Fall 2020 (May 28, 2020)

Dear UNCSA Community,

I hope this email finds you well wherever you may be after what was an extraordinary semester at UNCSA. As our thoughts turn to fall 2020, today I am writing to share our intention to welcome students to campus next semester, and the adjustments we are making in order to ensure it is safe to do so.
 
Over the past month the UNCSA leadership team has been working closely with faculty and staff in discussing possible scenarios for the fall. I am proud of the dedicated and innovative work that is underway to rethink the way we deliver instruction as we adapt to the landscape facing not only universities across the country, but the industry for which we prepare our student-artists. 
 
As we think about fall, we are keeping in mind that our primary mission is to train our students for the arts and entertainment industry, and we are making modifications to our instruction for this year that reflect the way that industry is adapting to the current reality. With guidance from industry as well as medical experts, our faculty and staff have been working diligently to develop our courses and experiences as we stay vigilant in protecting the health of our campus and the community at large.
 
As we enter the final stages of our operational planning, we are announcing the following key decisions for the coming year:
 
#1 – Modified Academic Calendar 

  • Classes for undergraduate, graduate and high school students will begin on Monday, Aug. 17, and end on Thursday, Nov. 19.
  • We will forego the Labor Day holiday as well as fall break.
  • On-campus final exams and juries will be conducted Friday, Nov. 20, through Tuesday, Nov. 24, with finals continuing online following the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • The duration of winter break will be expanded. 
This plan greatly reduces any need for travel during the middle of the semester, as limiting movement is key for managing virus spread. It allows the institution to avoid bringing students back following the Thanksgiving break, when so many will have traveled home to destinations around the country and the world. This modified calendar also enables us to maintain the necessary instructional days required to meet our academic standards and best serve our students. The final academic calendar, including details for the spring semester, will be announced at a later date.
 
#2 – Hybrid Instructional Model
 
We will adopt a hybrid instructional model for the fall semester. This means maintaining our core in-person classes and experiences while also incorporating online instructional resources where possible. More specific details about modifications to courses will come from the schools’ deans in the coming weeks. I wish to commend our faculty for their work in coming up with creative solutions that reflect the way the industry is adapting to the current situation, which will ensure the training is more relevant than ever.
 
#3—Health and Safety Protocols
 
Under guidance and protocols outlined by the UNC System, UNCSA is working closely with state and local partners in health and public safety in finalizing our operational plans for the fall semester and beyond. Our focus is to be able to offer the core elements of in-person training in a manner that is meaningful and relevant to the industry, while doing everything possible to protect the health of students, faculty and staff. Details about these protocols, as well as on-campus health and safety procedures such as screening, testing and quarantining, will be announced in the coming weeks.
 
To deal with these and many other issues, I’ve organized various cross-departmental task forces. These include Academic Programs, Health and Wellness Services, Environmental Safety, Residential Housing and Dining, Human Resources and Infrastructure, Communications and External Relations, and Finance and Infrastructure. These task forces include broad representation from faculty and staff across the campus, as well as representatives from student government.  
 
We continue to be guided by the UNC System Office, the Centers for Disease Control and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and are working with local partners to further refine our return to campus. It is important to note that we must maintain maximum flexibility in our planning, knowing that conditions with COVID-19 may evolve over the summer or during the school year. We will keep you informed every step of the way.
 
We plan to hold several online Town Hall meetings in June to address questions you may have about the fall, and will announce those dates shortly. Until then, please continue to monitor our new Fall 2020 webpage for changes and updates.
 
In these unprecedented times, the world needs the inspiration and creative problem-solving abilities of artists now more than ever. The people of the UNCSA community are better prepared than anyone to meet these challenges, and our institution is ready to do so. While this is a complex situation, I also believe it is one that presents an opportunity for UNCSA to do what it does best – let our ingenuity, resourcefulness and imagination shine.


Sincerely,

Brian Cole
Chancellor



Governor moves North Carolina into modified Phase 2 (May 22, 2020)

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order, effective at 5 p.m. today, Friday, May 22, that will allow North Carolinians to move into Phase 2 of a three-phased approach to slowly lift statewide restrictions due to COVID-19.
 
Phase 2 lifts the stay-at-home order, but recommends residents will be “Safer At Home” – especially people at high risk. Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said that while the state’s overall key indicators remain stable, continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.
 
For UNCSA, the move into Phase 2 has no significant impact on our operations as teleworking is still encouraged. Employees should continue teleworking and remote work arrangements where possible, and only mandatory employees who have been directed by their supervisors to support essential operations should report to campus.
 
Under Phase 2, the following occurs:
•    Restaurants can open at 50% capacity for dine-in customers.
•    Personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, can open at 50% capacity.
•    Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level.
•    Mass gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. These limits apply to: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.
•    Day camps and overnight camps can open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements.
•    Bars, night clubs, gyms and indoor fitness facilities, and indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys remain closed.
•    Rigorous restrictions remain on nursing homes and other congregant care settings.
The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through 5 p.m. Friday, June 26, unless revised or replaced. For more information on Phase 2, see the FAQs on the NC governor website.

Governor moves North Carolina to Phase 1 (May 8, 2020)

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order, effective at 5 p.m. today, Friday, May 8, that will allow North Carolinians to move into Phase 1 of a three-phased approach to slowly lift statewide restrictions he issued on
March 27 as the state continues to battle COVID-19.

The statewide stay-at-home order will still be in place, but restrictions on leaving home will be loosened as more business are allowed to open. People will be able to leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open.

Retail businesses will be allowed to open at 50% capacity with social distancing and frequent cleaning. Other businesses remain closed, including personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants and bars may continue to offer drive-through, takeout and delivery only.

Though small outdoor gatherings will be allowed, gatherings of more than 10 people generally are still prohibited. The opening of state parks and trails is encouraged.

Child care facilities will be open, with strict cleaning protocols, to serve families of parents who are working or looking for work.

Teleworking is still encouraged for businesses that can practice it. A memorandum from the UNC System’s Office of Human Resources will follow with more details.

See more on what's new in Phase 1 (PDF).

The governor’s order is in effect until 5 p.m. Friday, May 22; however, Phase 2 will start only if public health data and indicators meet the governor’s plan.

According to public health officials, there have been more than 300 reported cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, with five deaths. Statewide, there have been more than 13,000 cases and more than 500 deaths to date.

For more information on COVID-19 and how it affects UNCSA, please visit our website, uncsa.edu/coronavirus for updates.

You may be eligible for CARES Act federal funds (April 30, 2020)


Dear Undergraduate and Graduate Students,
Funds are now available from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). You may be eligible.

The federal government is providing $12.56 billion to public and private higher education institutions, half of which is intended to provide emergency assistance to college students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the novel coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and child care.

UNC System institutions will receive a combined amount of approximately $179 million. UNCSA's allocation is expected to total $868,886, of which $434,443 is specifically reserved to provide eligible students with emergency financial aid grants. The other half of the funds will be used to help offset revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have been predetermined to be eligible for a distribution from the CARES HEERF, you will receive an email from me in the next week. The email will include a link to a form that must be completed before you can receive a distribution; it certifies you have expenses related to campus disruption due to COVID-19 and will use the funds for that purpose. Note: Graduating students cannot receive the funds after they graduate, so please complete the form quickly.

College students who submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) indicating demonstrated need (and eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid) are eligible for the CARES HEERF funds. Note: With the exception of graduating students, college students can still file a FAFSA for 2019-20 to qualify.

UNCSA is using a model designed to distribute funds as quickly as possible to students with the greatest need. Funds will be allocated in a tiered fashion for undergraduates in amounts ranging from $200 to $1,000, with Pell Grant-eligible students receiving $1,000. Graduate students demonstrating need will receive $500. Funds received through this process are meant to provide assistance and may not cover all expenses incurred.

When the federal government announced the funds were coming, UNCSA put together a committee tasked with their disbursement. We have been reviewing the latest updates provided by the U.S. Department of Education and working closely with UNC System leadership to develop and implement guidelines to meet federal requirements. The UNCSA committee includes Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Chief of Staff Jim DeCristo, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Michael Smith, Interim Vice Provost Tracey Ford, Clinical Case Manager Laurel Donley, and myself.

If you did not demonstrate need after submitting a 2019-20 FAFSA, or if you have greater needs than those addressed by the CARES HEERF, other funds may be available to you through a separate process. You will need to complete a separate form listing total expenses and immediate need to apply for other emergency assistance from our COVID-19 College Student Emergency Fund, managed through Student Affairs. Again, graduating students should please complete the form quickly, as these funds are for immediate needs of currently enrolled students.

My best wishes to you for your future health and safety during these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Jane Caropreso Kamiab
Director, Student Financial Aid

N.C. Governor extends stay-at-home order to May 8 (April 23, 2020)


Today, Thursday, April 23, Gov. Roy Cooper extended North Carolina’s stay-at-home order until May 8, in an effort to combat the ongoing spread of COVID-19. The order had been set to expire on April 29.

Gov. Cooper said that North Carolina will need more widespread COVID-19 testing, tracking of those who have had contact with those who are ill, and slowed case and hospitalization rate trends before restrictions can ease. He also laid out a three-stage plan for reopening the state once those criteria have been met.

Winston-Salem’s stay-at-home restrictions were already extended to May 7.

According to public health officials, there have been 143 reported cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, with five deaths. Statewide, there have been 7,759 cases and 275 deaths to date.
 
As previously reported, UNCSA will be online only for the remainder of the semester, with faculty continuing to deliver online instruction off-campus, as much as possible.

Non-mandatory staff continue to telework where possible, and mandatory employees continue to report to work as approved by their supervisors. The special work and leave provisions as communicated on March 31 will remain in place through April 30; we are expecting continued guidance from the UNC System Office for the month of May and will communicate any information we receive.

The small number of residential students who remain on campus as granted by exception for extenuating circumstances may stay on campus, but must continue to adhere to this stay-at-home order.

Remember, there are several exemptions to the stay-at-home orders, but only for essential services and activities, such as visiting healthcare providers and pharmacies, getting groceries and takeout, and taking care of pets. For more detailed information, see the governor's office's FAQs regarding this order.
 
For more information on COVID-19 and how it affects UNCSA, please visit our website, uncsa.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Virtual and in-person celebrations, planning for fall semester (April 21, 2020)

 Dear UNCSA Community,
I hope everyone is well as I check in again with my latest video update.

It is hard to believe that we are already well into the homestretch for this academic year. With that in mind, I have used this update primarily to fill you in on our planning for the virtual celebration of graduating students. While we are still planning an in-person commencement ceremony in the future, we have come up with what we believe will be a wonderful way to celebrate our University and High School Classes of 2020. We'll launch these online celebrations at 10 a.m. May 9 for University graduates and 10 a.m. May 16 for High School graduates; but they will remain available following each event to view on demand whenever you wish. Tune in to the update and look out for an email invitation for more details.

In this update I also address questions and concerns that we continue to receive regarding plans for the fall semester. Please know that we are actively planning for several scenarios for how the school year might begin, knowing we can't yet predict with certainty the path the current health crisis will take. We are hopeful that we'll be able to bring students, faculty and staff back together as soon as possible, but top priority remains the safety of everyone in our community. We are working hard to prepare for the future and do everything we can to be able to deliver the caliber of education and experience you expect from UNCSA next year.

Until the next time -- stay strong, Pickles!

Sincerely,

Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Refund payment processes detailed (April 8, 2020)

Last week, Interim Chancellor Brian Cole announced that the UNC System approved our ability to offer prorated refunds for unused housing and dining services as a result of the rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since reducing university operations, we recognize that students have faced many difficulties as you have quickly moved out of residence halls, lost access to dining, and transitioned to online learning.

UNCSA is working with the UNC System to provide these refunds as soon as possible. The refund payment processes have already begun and are expected to take no longer than three to four weeks, so all reimbursements are distributed no later than the end of April.

All refunds will be processed through the UNCSA Student Accounts Office to address any outstanding balances (fines, fees, payment plans, etc.) with the remaining balances issued as refunds. Refund calculations will be applied from March 16, 2020, the first day after the day students were directed to vacate campus housing. All applicable UNCSA students (high school, undergraduate and graduate) who are no longer able to use their housing or dining contracts will be included in the refund process.

Students and families can help us expedite this effort by ensuring your direct deposit information is updated and accurate in TouchNet, our online payment and refund portal. Please note that this direct deposit is separate from student payroll, and may only be accessed through the "Student and Staff" login.

We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. We are committed to issuing all refunds as expeditiously as possible. If you have any questions, please reach out to Student Accounts at studentaccounts@uncsa.edu.

Video Check-in No. 2 (April 3, 2020)

Dear UNCSA Community,

As promised, here is my next video message to all of you as we complete Week 2 of online classes. I wanted to take this opportunity to address a few of the most frequently asked questions from this week, specifically about refunds and academic grading policies. I am pleased that we were able to offer some good news on both fronts, as we know how important these subjects are to all of you. But I know that each move forward brings more questions, and we will stay in close communication to share more information as soon as we are able.

I want to again reiterate that we remain keenly aware that in addition to navigating the shift to online instruction, some of you are dealing with challenging personal and family situations that make living up to your usual potential more difficult. Please know that we want to do all that we can to help you succeed in these less than favorable circumstances.

Again, I want to assure you that we are listening and trying to respond as quickly as possible and we will continue to provide updates via email and messages from me. In the meantime I look forward to seeing more of your fantastic contributions online at #poweringcommunity. Remember that continuing to make art is one of the ways you can be a light in the darkness as the world navigates this pandemic.

Hope you are safe and well, and that you are all able to enjoy your weekend wherever you may be.

Sincerely,
Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Provisional academic policies for Spring 2020 (April 1, 2020)

Dear Students,

I write to share with you the provisional academic policies we have put in place to support you during this semester. These policies are intended to give you some flexibility in navigating your online coursework. I understand how difficult it is for our campus community to be apart and to have to adapt so quickly to an online learning environment. The UNC System considers the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic as constituting extenuating circumstances, and this will be noted on your university transcript.
 
UNCSA is making the following policy provisions for the spring 2020 semester only:

  • A Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option, which you may elect after your grades have posted. Given the uncertainty of everyone’s circumstances, we believe that giving you the option at the end of the term to change letter grades in your courses to S/U gives you the greatest flexibility.
  • Extension of incomplete grades due this semester
  • Exception to probation and dismissal policies
  • Availability of withdrawal under extenuating circumstances

The entire policy is included below and will be on our COVID-19 website. Please submit your questions through this form so that we can review quickly, respond to you, and add to the FAQ section.
  
On behalf of the entire faculty and staff at UNCSA, I wish to convey our concern for you and your well-being. Please stay connected with your faculty and peers during this time, and reach out when you need us.

Yours,

Karin Peterson
Interim Provost



UNCSA COVID-19 Provisional Academic Policies

UNC System decision on housing and dining refunds (March 30, 2020)


Dear Students,

We recognize that many of the necessary actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have created a hardship for many of you who have had to move out of residence halls, lost access to dining services, and managed a wide range of individually unique challenges. Today, in an effort to address those challenges, we are pleased that the UNC System has announced that students at all System schools, including UNCSA, will receive prorated refunds of unused dining and housing fees incurred.
 
There is a great deal more detailed work to be done to determine when and how the refunds will be issued, but we wanted to share this information with you as quickly as possible. Over the next few days, UNCSA administrators and UNC System leadership are working together to develop this process. We will send more information about the timing and process as soon as we are able.

Sincerely,
Brian Cole

Governor issues stay-at-home order (March 27, 2020)


Today, Friday, March 27, Gov. Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order for the state of North Carolina in an effort to combat the ongoing spread of COVID-19. The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 30, and will remain in effect for 30 days.

The statewide order is similar to the citywide order given on March 25 by Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines that goes into effect at 5 p.m. today. There are more than 700 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina and at least 24 cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, according to public health officials. There are currently no COVID-19 cases on the UNCSA campus.

Previous measures implemented at UNCSA still apply:

  • Online instruction is defined as an essential service. Faculty are strongly encouraged to deliver their online instruction off-campus, if possible. If the delivery of their online course requires access to campus, faculty should report their schedule to their dean.
  • All shops, practice and rehearsal rooms, theaters and studios on campus remain closed.
  • All non-mandatory employees are expected to telework where possible.
  • Mandatory employees should consult their supervisor regarding their requirement to continue reporting to campus.
  • Residential students who remain on campus as granted by exception for extenuating circumstances may stay on campus, but must adhere to this stay-at-home order.
  • Student Affairs will allow students to pick up essential belongings through Sunday, March 29, as planned. To schedule an appointment, please email Kathryn McMillan for high school and Nick Gawlik for college.

There are several exemptions to the stay-at-home orders. Some of them are: for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work, and to take care of others. For more detailed information, see the governor's office's FAQs regarding this order.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. Please regularly check uncsa.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Stay-at-home order for Winston-Salem (March 25, 2020)

Dear UNCSA Community,

Today, Wednesday, March 25, Mayor Allen Joines issued a stay-at-home order for the city of Winston-Salem in an effort to combat the ongoing spread of COVID-19. This order includes members of the campus community who reside in Winston-Salem and goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, March 27, and will remain in effect until Thursday, April 16.

There are currently no COVID-19 cases on the UNCSA campus. There are at least 17 cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County, according to public health officials. Previous measures implemented at UNCSA still apply:

  • As specified by the mayor's order, online instruction is an essential service. Faculty are strongly encouraged to deliver their online instruction off-campus, if possible. If the delivery of their online course requires access to campus, faculty should report their schedule to their dean.
  • All shops, practice and rehearsal rooms, theaters and studios on campus remain closed.
  • All non-mandatory employees are requested to telework where possible.
  • Residential students who remain on campus as granted by exception for extenuating circumstances may stay on campus, but must adhere to this stay-at-home order.
  • Residential students who are not currently on campus must schedule an appointment with Student Affairs to pick up their belongings before Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m., if possible. Student Affairs will allow pick up of essential belongings through Sunday, March 29 as planned. To schedule an appointment, please contact Kathryn McMillan for high school and Nick Gawlik for college.

There are several exemptions to the mayor's stay-at-home order. Some of them are: for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work, and to take care of others. For more detailed information, see the mayor's official order and the city's FAQs regarding this order.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation, Please regularly check uncsa.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Rising to the challenge together (March 23, 2020)

Dear UNCSA Community,

Today we mark a significant moment where we take our first steps forward in these unprecedented times. This morning we resumed classes at UNCSA, all of which are now taking place exclusively in an online environment. While the moment is one that carries a significant level of sadness and disappointment for all of us, it is also one that brings resilience and hope as this community of artists together begins to move forward.

It wasn't that long ago that we had to make the initial announcement that we would be extending Spring Break and transitioning to online instruction, and yet so much has happened since then. The rapid pace of the change and disruption we have faced has been disorienting for everyone, and the required adjustments are substantial and impactful. On Saturday I came to campus to check in with the dedicated Student Affairs team that is doing everything they can to assist students and parents with a difficult transition. While there, I spoke with students and parents as they collected belongings and prepared for a much different conclusion of our semester than we had planned. There was a lot of sadness on those faces, but there was also strength and perseverance. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone – students, parents, faculty and staff – for the diligence, faith and resolve that have been evident throughout our community over these last days. You have each been instrumental in helping UNCSA move forward.

Nothing – not even the novel coronavirus – will deter us from our mission to train artists and enrich the cultural and economic prosperity of the people of North Carolina and the nation. Now, as we enter a new and unprecedented chapter in the history of our school, we will focus on the core goals and outcomes for our students and continue to do everything possible to position you to be successful in your programs, as well as next steps in your careers. Today is a step forward, but I know that things will likely get harder before they begin to return to any sense of normalcy. Recently I heard UNC System Interim President Bill Roper say, "We will get past this, but to get past it we first have to go through it." The strength of the UNCSA community is what will make that happen. We will do that together with patience and a deep commitment to each other.

One of the principal things that defines us is the art that we create and how we share it with the world every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a physical distance between us, and in the past weeks we have been left with a silence and a darkness in the absence of the art that usually overflows from this campus and its people.

Today let's commit to filling that silence with more music, poetry and storytelling than ever before. Let's bring our light back into the world with more dance, painting, and sculpture. From wherever you are currently sheltered, please share the images and videos of the art that you are creating with #poweringcreativity as well as a new hashtag especially for this time: #poweringcommunity. We'll be actively reposting and sharing the work from our students, faculty, staff and alumni through the UNCSA media channels more meaningfully than ever.

I have never been more proud to be a part of UNCSA. This is an incredible family that has unparalleled talent, creativity and grit. What our community of artists does is not only important for the arts industry – it is crucial for our society. Our world desperately needs the empathy and joy that only art can create, and none of that is possible without you. I know that you will all rise to the challenge.

#poweringcommunity #poweringcreativity

Very best regards,

Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

 

COVID-19 Update: Commencement (March 20, 2020)

Dear Class of 2020,

I know you’ve received a lot of updates from me lately, but I feel it is important to reach out again today regarding something I know is on the minds of our graduating students as well as the rest of the UNCSA community, which is commencement.

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and public health advisories on large gatherings, we have decided that our university commencement on May 9 and high school commencement on May 16 will not take place in-person as planned.

But rest assured, UNCSA will do everything possible to hold in-person commencement ceremonies as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we are planning to host virtual and interactive tributes to all of our seniors on May 9 and 16. Please stay tuned for details on this in the coming weeks.

I personally know that commencement is one of the highlights of the UNCSA experience – an inspirational and exciting concluding chapter in our story each year. I know how much that moment means to you, our senior students, and how disappointing this news is.

It is important to understand that the postponement of our in-person commencement ceremonies will not affect your ability to complete your degree programs on time and officially graduate from the institution. Our deans and faculty are in the final stages of preparing an online experience to support the completion of student coursework, and we are working together to address the needs of senior capstone projects in parallel with that online classroom environment. We realize there may be challenges with our new online format and that not all students will have equal access to the space, time or technology needed to participate in those courses. We are working continuously and proactively to address those needs as best we can.

We are immensely proud of all of you and what you have accomplished here as a part of the UNCSA family, and we look forward to the moment that we will all be able to celebrate you and those achievements. It’s just going to take a little longer than any of us had planned.

Again, please take care of yourselves and each other, and refer to our UNCSA COVID-19 webpage for more information and instructions for self-quarantine. Thank you for your patience, perseverance and resilience as our Fighting Pickle family continues to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Sincerely,

Brian Cole

Interim Chancellor

Spring semester plans (March 18, 2020)

Dear Students,

After substantial deliberation and discussion with Interim Provost Peterson, deans and other faculty leaders, it is with great sadness that we let you know UNCSA has made the very difficult decision to suspend in-person classes for the entire spring semester. This means that when we transition to a 100% online format on Monday, March 23, we will continue in that environment for the duration of those courses. This also means that all student performances and events scheduled during the rest of the spring semester are effectively canceled. 

Our timeline to assess our situation and make a longer-term decision about the spring semester was cut short due to yesterday’s new UNC System directive to reduce student populations on all campuses substantially. We are confident this decision is in the best interest of our campus community and the community at-large, given the severity and escalating nature of the situation and nationwide response to the spread of COVID-19.

This is an unprecedented measure and one that is enormously disappointing for every member of the UNCSA community. We want to assure you that we will continue to do everything possible to prepare graduating seniors to transition into their professional careers or next steps in their education, as well as provide continuity for all of our students during this challenging time. 

The UNC System continues to monitor the situation and plans to make a systemwide decision regarding in-person commencement by April 1.

To our students: Our arts, liberal arts, and high school faculty are hard at work preparing for a robust online experience to support the completion of your coursework. This is a heavy lift and will be a new experience for all involved, and we encourage you to take full advantage of the resources available to make the most of your online learning experience. 

We realize that you will have many questions about how this news affects you and our campus. Your deans and faculty will reach out soon with pertinent information and next steps regarding your arts and academic programs. For comprehensive information regarding Students Affairs, Residence Life and other groups that provide student services, please refer to the COVID-19 FAQs, which we will continuously update.

These are challenging times for our institution, our nation and the world, and it will take time for this crisis -- and the anxiousness that comes with it -- to pass. But it will pass. Our community and our will is strong, and they will remain so. Together we will take uncertainty, trials and obstacles and turn them into truth, empathy and beauty, because that is what artists do. It is at our core and it is who we are. We are innovators and creators and together we will meet these hard times head on and come out even stronger on the other side -- and we will care for each other in the process. 

Sincerely,

Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Guidance for residential students (March 17, 2020)

As you know, the federal and state government’s response to COVID-19 continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Given recent changes, the UNC System has updated its guidance to campuses to include a directive to substantially reduce the number of students in campus housing. Below is how this will affect UNCSA:
 
Residential students currently on campus must vacate by Sunday, March 22.

  • Although our campus remains open, all students currently living in residential facilities must vacate campus by 5 p.m. Sunday, March 22. This includes Center Stage Apartments, Residence Halls A-F, Sanford and Moore halls, and the Gateway Loft Apartments. We ask that students leave as quickly as they are able to do so. We will use our normal move-out procedure to do this. Student Affairs will work with students to ensure they are able to travel back to their permanent residence.

  • Only rare exceptions will be granted, in cases such as international students who are unable to travel home, students experiencing documented home insecurity, and extenuating circumstances. To request an exception, contact Case Manager Laurel Donley. All exceptions must be approved by the chancellor.

  • Residential students not currently on campus will be permitted to return to gather essential belongings, but must make an appointment at least 48 hours in advance. Student Affairs will email you instructions and a link to schedule appointments by 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 18.

  • All studios, rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, shops, sound stages, post suites, labs, and performance venues will be closed and locked through at least Sunday, April 5.

As previously announced, UNCSA will move to online course delivery as of Monday, March 23, through at least Friday, April 3. All in-person classes, performances, rehearsals, and events are suspended during that time.
 
We understand these are extraordinary measures and difficult circumstances, and our staff is here to support our students for whom this may create hardship. As we adapt to the rapidly evolving situation, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as our community at-large, and the delivery of our core academic mission, remain our priority.

By the end of this week, we will send another update to students and parents with additional information and to communicate details and decisions for the coming weeks and beyond. Please regularly check uncsa.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Sincerely,
Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Karin Peterson
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Student Technology Access (March 16, 2020)

As previously communicated, UNCSA is moving to online course delivery as of Monday, March 23, at least through Friday, April 3. It is important to know how much access you will have in the coming weeks so that we can assess what it will take to help you succeed in an online environment. Our priority is to accommodate all students as best we can, and your prompt response will help us in that endeavor.

Some of you may have already received a survey from a faculty member or dean. Please also complete this form.

We understand that everyone has a different level of access given their personal circumstances, and our deans and faculty are working hard to develop coursework that will take all students’ needs into consideration.

Sincerely,
Karin Peterson
Interim Provost

NC Governor's Executive Order (March 15, 2020)

Yesterday Gov. Roy Cooper announced an Executive Order that all North Carolina K-12 public schools will be closed through at least March 30 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We realize that this will present additional challenges for many in our campus community, particularly members of our faculty and staff who have children that attend public schools. 
 
The governor’s Executive Order does not alter the guidance we have received from the UNC System Office, nor any of the instructions we have communicated to you over the past several days.

  • UNCSA and all other UNC institutions remain open, although transitioning to online and alternative course delivery. As indicated in our other communications, we still strongly recommend that all students remain home or return home for the time being, if possible. 
  • The Executive Order does not require us to close university housing or suspend dining facilities or other student services. Our dining services are offering takeout options at campus dining facilities.
  • All conferences on campuses that will assemble 100 or more people in a single room for a meeting continue to be suspended.

Tomorrow, deans and faculty are meeting to further discuss and plan for the development of our online resources and technology needs. We will communicate additional guidance per arts discipline as soon as possible, as well as survey the individual technology resource needs for each student. 

As always, it is critically important to stay connected and informed during this time. Please regularly check uncsa.edu/coronavirus for updates. Also monitor your email and UNCSA social media channels as we will update information as frequently and quickly as possible. 
Sincerely,

Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Campus access and academic information (March 13, 2020)

Dear Students,

I am writing to follow up on the important message that you received from Chancellor Cole this past Wednesday regarding the UNC System’s response and corresponding actions in relation to the growing COVID-19 crisis. Our entire faculty and staff team have been hard at work creating plans and procedures that will enable you to continue your education and training, as well as ensure the services you rely on from UNCSA. Your health and safety, as well as that of our community at-large, remain our first priority.

This morning the Chancellor and I met with the deans and other campus leaders to discuss the best way forward in the coming weeks, and carefully consider options for the remainder of the semester. We decided unanimously that, at the conclusion of our extended Spring Break, UNCSA will move to a 100% online delivery method that will last at least until Friday, April 3. During that two-week period, all in-person classes, performances, rehearsals and events are suspended. 

Taking this action will best enable UNCSA to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community. At this juncture, as students, faculty and staff return from around the country and across the globe, we are at a substantially higher risk.

Throughout this period, we will be monitoring the situation in collaboration with the UNC System and local and state agencies to assess and determine if we are able to return to any level of in-person instruction after April 3, or potentially later. Our priority is to ensure that our students have the opportunity to complete their final projects, and we will be working with deans and faculty proactively and creatively in each case.

We know this news is disappointing, but we are confident that this action offers the best opportunity for our institution to potentially resume a normal schedule before the end of the academic year, should the health situation in our state and community permit it. In the wake of a large majority of arts and academic institutions already canceling entire semesters of courses, concerts and productions, we are making our decisions deliberately to give UNCSA and its students every possibility to continue their education this spring. 

Please read the following updates carefully:

Campus Access: March 23 - April 3

  • As previously communicated, UNCSA has extended Spring Break through March 22. Classes will then be in a 100% online format from March 23 to at least April 3.

  • Our campus will remain open, but during this period we strongly encourage you to stay home or return home if possible.

  • All in-person classes, rehearsals, production processes, events and performances will be suspended. Studios, classrooms, theaters and shops will be completely closed through at least April 3. This is an important step to implement significant social distancing in hopes of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. During this time, students who have no choice but to remain on campus will have access to student services facilities, such as the residence halls, dining hall, the Hanes Student Commons and the Library.

  • We are working with students who need accommodations. No student will be left without a place to live.

  • We are working to develop additional ways to support our students who need other assistance in this challenging time.

  • All college housing will open beginning on March 15 for those who have no option but to return. If you must return to a college housing facility, please complete the questionnaire below to inform Student Affairs of your plans.


Online Classes
Note: Due to the rapid changes in the spread and response to the pandemic, the following section has been updates from its original content.
  • As of March 23, we will move to a 100% online teaching environment for the remainder of the semester.

  • We ask that you begin preparing for online class delivery. Check that you have access to a reliable internet connection and a computer or tablet. We will need to know if you do not have the technology needed to access online classes and will be sending a student technology survey early next week along with further academic information from your deans and faculty. 

  • All student and guest artist performances are canceled. We recognize that this will be especially hard for you students and have asked deans to work closely with you to ensure your final projects are realized. 

  • The Library, the Writing Center and the Coordinator of Learning Resources will provide online support for your learning needs.

  • All students will be given the opportunity to finish their academic credits for the semester—this situation should not prevent anyone from graduating, or delay anyone’s future graduation.

We understand that these changes are difficult. Please know that we are joining the country and the world in doing what we can to mitigate the effects of this pandemic and that it requires the participation of our whole community in order to protect those who are most vulnerable. 

We want you to know that the entire leadership team at UNCSA is working hard to support you and your education during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,
Karin Peterson
Interim Provost