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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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Governor issues stay-at-home order (Mar. 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 for updates.

Stay-at-home order for Winston-Salem (Mar. 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 Gawlick 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 for updates.

Rising to the challenge together (Mar. 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 (Mar 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).



Brian Cole

Interim Chancellor

Spring semester plans (Mar 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. 


Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Guidance for residential students (Mar 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 for updates.

Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Karin Peterson
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Student Technology Access (Mar 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.

Karin Peterson
Interim Provost

NC Governor's Executive Order (Mar 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 for updates. Also monitor your email and UNCSA social media channels as we will update information as frequently and quickly as possible. 

Brian Cole
Interim Chancellor

Campus access and academic information (Mar 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.

Karin Peterson
Interim Provost