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Spring Semester Planning and Updates

NC State community,

Spring in Raleigh is one of the best times of the year — a time of renewal, new starts and hope. Our university community continues to show remarkable resilience in dealing with the twists and turns of COVID-19, and we are cautiously optimistic as we make plans for the spring semester.

I’d like to share an update on what’s ahead.

NC State leadership is working with faculty, staff, students, the UNC System, and county and state health officials to continue planning for the spring. We will continue to share plans with the campus community over the next few weeks. Below are updates that we can provide today.

I want to reassure you that the health and safety of our community remains our top priority as we make decisions about the spring. We’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way.

What We’ve Learned
Since March, we’ve learned a great deal from NC State’s efforts to provide opportunities for on-campus learning, living and working, and of course our health care experts continue understanding more about this virus. Following are some lessons learned:

  • NC State’s efforts in testing and tracing were successful in helping keep our community safe. Through the tremendous work of NC State Medical Director Dr. Julie Casani and her team in Student Health Services, in coordination with county and state health officials, we’ve been able to trace how COVID-19 spread in our campus community.
  • Because of NC State’s many safety efforts, we’ve not seen community spread in classrooms or office spaces. We’ve also not seen it in the libraries or student centers, and we’ve not traced the spread of infection to shared restrooms in residence halls.
  • We’ve had very low rates of infection in staff members and no evidence COVID-19 was transmitted in the workplace. This includes staff working in housing and dining facilities.
  • What we have seen, clearly, is that COVID-19 is easily and quickly spread through social gatherings, such as parties (large and small), as well as communal living spaces where students are in double occupancy bedrooms.
  • With the rapid spread of COVID-19 in August, we learned that the spaces set aside for on-campus quarantine and isolation quickly filled. We’ve also learned how to improve our support processes to better serve students in quarantine and isolation housing.

What We Know Now
As we continue our spring planning, the following are a few important items that you should know now:

  • The spring 2021 calendar has been released. As originally planned, classes will start Jan. 11 and finish April 29. The university will have spring break March 15-19, and final exams will take place May 3-7.
  • We are planning to provide the option of on-campus living in the spring at reduced capacity. All rooms will be single occupancy. University Housing will be sending a message to students who lived on campus earlier in the fall to determine their preferences for spring housing.
  • We are preparing to keep on-campus housing open throughout the spring semester.
  • Similar to the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, we plan to offer a mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes for undergraduate and graduate students. Details about delivery mode for specific courses will be confirmed over the next few weeks. However, we will also work to ensure any students who want to take courses remotely will have the opportunity to do so.
  • We are working to provide safe in-person and online engagement opportunities for students.
  • Our enhanced quarantine and isolation plan will include additional rooms reserved for these specific purposes. Additionally, students living in residential facilities with private sleeping quarters and private or semiprivate restrooms will be able to quarantine or isolate in their rooms if needed.
  • Our medical professionals are working to enhance NC State’s testing and contact tracing capabilities for the spring.
  • Our medical staff is also putting together vaccination plans for students in hopeful anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Increased community standards adherence and enforcement must be part of the plan. This semester, the vast majority of our campus enthusiastically complied and did their part to protect the Pack. Moving forward, NC State will more aggressively enforce violations of our community standards and state mandates on and off campus, by students and employees, in order to keep our community safe and well.
  • As allowed by the state and the UNC System, where safe and appropriate, we expect to see a larger return of employees to campus.

Stay Informed
We will keep the campus community updated as spring plans are completed. Please pay attention to your emails and regularly visit our Protect the Pack website for updates.

Thank you all for your ongoing flexibility and commitment as we move forward during this unique and challenging time. We remain hopeful that we’ll be seeing more of our Wolfpack community back on campus soon.

Randy Woodson, Chancellor