Planning our return to campus


Planning our return to campus

Updated: July 10, 2020

UNCSA is preparing to resume on-campus coursework for the fall 2020 semester with your health and wellness as our top priority. Our planning has been informed by evolving industry guidelines, medical experts and the UNC System. Chancellor Cole charged task forces made up of faculty, staff and student government to develop plans that will deliver the highest level of training in the safest manner possible. Your education at UNCSA will reflect how the arts industry is adapting to the current reality both practically and creatively. We continue to work with the UNC System and health and safety officials to monitor the situation with COVID-19 in our state and prepare for all possible scenarios.

Academic calendar

The revised academic calendar will minimize travel, reducing potential exposure to the virus while maintaining the instructional days required to meet our academic standards. Key changes include:

  • Classes for the fall semester for undergraduate, graduate and high school students begin on Monday, Aug. 17, and end on Thursday, Nov. 19.
  • Fall and spring breaks have been eliminated, and three Wednesday breaks have been added for each semester.
  • 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 is expanded; the spring semester begins Feb. 8, 2021. 

Hybrid instructional model

UNCSA is preparing to use a hybrid instructional model for the fall semester. Hybrid instruction will maintain our core in-person classes and experiences, following safety guidelines, while incorporating online instructional resources when necessary. Specific details will be published on the individual pages linked below.

Performances and productions

Deans and faculty are developing innovative performance and production plans that prioritize the health and safety of our students while reflecting the evolution of the industry as it faces the effects of COVID-19. More information will be announced.

Move-in and orientation

  • Move-in will take place by appointment only during the week of Aug. 9-16. Appointments will be held in two-hour increments. You will receive an email inviting you to make your appointment by mid-July.
  • Students and family members will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms by staff upon arriving on campus. Individuals that do not clear the screening will be asked to leave the campus.
  • Two people will be permitted to assist each student with move in. Once move-in is complete, those assisting with move in must leave the campus.
  • Out of state/country students can ship items. Instructions will be sent on how and where to ship items.
  • New and returning students will be required to complete online safety training modules before moving in. Failure to do so will result in appointment cancellation. You will receive a link to the online training by email before move in.
  • Orientation and onboarding will be completed through a hybrid of online modules and in-person sessions. Online orientation and onboarding will take place July 20-Aug. 7. The training is asynchronous. More information will be sent by email.
  • Parent orientation will take place exclusively online July 20-27. No parent orientation will take place in person. 
  • In-person new student orientation will take place Aug. 9-16.

Residential housing and dining

  • Residential housing will be standard, double occupancy in residence halls and apartments. Density will be reduced by having some quads converted to doubles, and some smaller doubles converted to singles.
  • Only residents of an individual room can be in that room. No visitors are permitted.
  • All dining spaces (Cafeteria, POD, Pickle Jar, Library Café) will be open and following all social distancing and safety protocols.
  • The cafeteria will be open with reduced seating capacity to allow for social distancing. Self-service options will not be available.
  • More to-go dining options will be offered.
  • During peak times, students will be assigned a time to eat in coordination with class schedules.
  • There will be more spaces for dining in Eisenberg, outdoor locations and on the lower level of Hanes Commons.

UNCSA Together – Community health standards

We all must commit to the actions and precautions we can take as individuals to protect our campus community. It will require all of us together to keep our community healthy. We expect all community members to show care for their friends, peers, colleagues and neighbors by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Everyone on campus is required to wear a mask or face covering at all times with a limited number of exceptions. See additional face covering guidance. In any cases where mask wearing impedes practical classwork, then extra protective precautions will be taken.
    • UNCSA will provide masks to everyone on campus. Students, faculty and staff are also allowed to bring their own masks or face coverings, if they comply with UNCSA standards. See additional mask and face covering guidance.
    • Students are not required to wear a mask or face covering in their dorm room or shower.
  • We expect everyone to follow institutional guidelines on social distancing at all times unless otherwise officially warranted by practical classwork; then, extra protective precautions will be taken. This includes following posted maximum space capacity signs where applicable.
  • We expect everyone to wash hands frequently throughout each day and to use hand sanitizer. UNCSA will be creating more opportunities for hand hygiene around campus.
  • Students, faculty and staff will wipe down high-touch surfaces before and after use. Wipes and hand sanitizer will be available to students, faculty and staff across campus.
  • We expect everyone to uphold these community health standards, whether they are on- or off-campus.
  • Failure to comply with our community health standards will result in progressive disciplinary actions.

Health and wellness

UNCSA followed Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and UNC System guidance and partnered with the county health department and local medical organizations to develop health and safety protocols for the upcoming academic year. We also consulted with a licensed infectious disease prevention specialist from UNC Health Care to create health and safety protocols specific to the spaces on our campus and the unique kinds of activities in our training and operations. Detailed health and safety modifications for each conservatory are still being developed and will be posted on the conservatory and academic pages in the Fall 2020 section of our website. In addition to our Community Health Standards, UNCSA will enact the following protocols to mitigate the risk presented by COVID-19 and to keep members of our campus community safe:


  • UNCSA will require everyone coming onto campus for move in (Aug. 9-16) to complete an in-person health screening, which will include having your temperature taken and answering questions about symptoms and whether you’ve been in contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Anyone who does not pass the screening will have to leave campus. Details about where to go for screening will be emailed in advance of your move in appointment.
  • All students, faculty and staff will be required to complete a daily COVID-19 screening self-assessment before attending class or coming to work.
  • All campus visitors will be required to take a COVID-19 screening self-assessment before conducting business on campus

Testing and tracing

  • UNCSA will have the capability on campus to test students for COVID-19, in partnership with Wake Forest Baptist Health. Faculty and staff will need to contact their medical provider for testing.
  • Students who refuse to take a COVID-19 test at the request of health services will face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. Tests are no cost to students, when ordered by a Student Health Services Medical Provider.
  • If UNCSA has a positive case this fall, a campus-wide notification will be sent, and contact tracing will be conducted by the Forsyth County Health Department with assistance from UNCSA. Forsyth County has hired and trained additional contact tracers to respond to the pandemic. UNCSA continues to be in direct contact with Forsyth County health officials and will work with them closely to implement contact tracing on campus, if necessary.
  • The UNC System is following CDC guidance which  does not recommend full-scale asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 before allowing students, faculty and staff on campus. There currently is not sufficient evidence that entry testing at higher education institutions would reduce person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond expected results of infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection), and the subsequent testing and isolation of symptomatic individuals.

Quarantine and isolation

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be immediately isolated.
  • Students who have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive, as determined by county health officials, will be quarantined on campus for 14 days.
  • Single rooms with bathrooms in residence halls have been reserved for quarantine or isolation. Parents are permitted to take students who test positive for COVID-19 home. Arts and academic departments will work with students on their absence due to illness.
  • Faculty or staff who test positive for COVID-19 must remain at home, not return to campus and notify their supervisor. They will not be allowed to return to campus until they have verification from a medical provider that they have recovered.


  •  The mental health and well-being of our students is a top priority. We will continue to support students with counseling, mindfulness sessions, physical exercise, yoga and other activities designed to promote overall wellness, while reinforcing our campus community academically, artistically and emotionally.
  • Because we have eliminated the Fall Break to reduce virus transmission through travel, UNCSA has designated three Wednesdays in the fall semester as “Wellness Wednesdays” when no classes will be held.
  • Faculty and staff who need assistance with mental or emotional health issues, may use the UNCSA Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP is an employer-sponsored benefit program that offers support and resources to address personal or work-related challenges and concerns. It is free for employees and members of your household and is completely confidential.

Environmental and physical safety

The UNCSA Environmental Services Department will implement new cleaning protocols for all areas of campus as recommended by the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency. The housekeeping staff has been trained in COVID-specific cleaning protocols as established by the CDC and EPA.

  • New daily cleaning methods utilizing equipment such as electrostatic foggers and sprayers will be added to the morning cleaning rounds.
  • Additional custodial staff is being added to increase the number of shifts.
  • Wipes and hand sanitizer will be widely available and easily accessible for students, faculty and staff.
  • UNCSA Facilities Management Division is working to improve air filtering and fresh air changes in buildings throughout campus. 
  • Signage to enforce social distancing will be placed in all common spaces on campus, including directional signage to control traffic flow. Capacity restrictions will be in place in common areas as well as small spaces such as restrooms.
  • As stated in the Community Health Standards, masks or face coverings will be required on campus. UNCSA will provide two reusable cloth masks to students when they arrive on campus. See additional face-covering guidance.
  • All campus buildings will require a One Card for access. This elevated level of security has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic and will continue through the fall semester to prevent unauthorized visitors from entering our campus.

Information sessions

The chancellor and deans will host information sessions throughout the summer with students, parents, faculty and staff. Dates and times of upcoming sessions are listed below, along with links to previous sessions.

Upcoming sessions:

Returning Students

Incoming Students

High School - July 20

High School - July 20

Chancellor Undergraduate and Graduate - July TBD

Chancellor Undergraduate and Graduate - July TBD

Recorded sessions: