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Workplace Expectations

  • Information on community standards during Summer 2021 can be found on the Carolina Together website. Community standards for Fall will be published soon.
  • Individuals who have been instructed to return to on-site work and wish to request a disability accommodation (e.g., for disabilities that place individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19) should contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office at
  • The University will provide guidance separately on requests for workplace flexibility for other situations, such as individuals who are at higher risk due to age or other factors, as set forth under CDC guidelines, or individuals who live with those who are high-risk.

Testing and Symptom Checks

Accessing Campus Regularly

  • The latest vaccine information and on-campus reservation link may be found on the COVID-19 Vaccination page. All members of the Carolina Community are encouraged to get vaccinated.
  • Faculty, staff and students – let Carolina know you have received one or both doses using the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification.
  • Staff and faculty who are accessing campus will be expected to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and should not report to campus if they feel ill.

Not Accessing Campus Regularly

  • If you are a member of the faculty or staff who is working remotely and not accessing campus, you are not required to conduct the daily symptom check and should not need to access the Carolina Together Testing Centers. The Carolina Together Testing Centers are intended to support campus-based personnel.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, immediately self-isolate and contact your primary care provider for further instructions.

Graduate, Professional and Post-Doc Students

  • If you are a graduate or professional student or post-doctoral fellow accessing campus to teach, attend in-person classes or are living in a home with 10 or more people, you are required to participate in asymptomatic testing once a week. More information will be provided to you about how to self-identify for testing through your department.
  • Graduate or professional students and post-doctoral fellows living in Chapel Hill or Carrboro for the semester but who do not fit the criteria outlined above, can participate in voluntary asymptomatic testing at the Carolina Together Testing Centers.

Personal Safety Practices in the Workplace

Community Protective Equipment (CPE)

  • While in a University facility, all individuals must wear a University-approved face mask when in the presence of others and in public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., conference rooms and common work spaces). Acceptable face mask options will be available at the UNC Environment Health & Safety website.
  • Face Masks:
    • Face masks may be of different types, including cloth face masks, disposable medical/surgical masks and respirators, but should at minimum meet the following criteria:
      • Be secured by ties or ear loops;
      • Allow for unrestricted breathing; and
      • In the case of cloth face masks, be able to be laundered and dried without damage or change to shape. Fit snugly and securely over the mouth and nose and against the side of the face;
    • University employees are not required to wear a mask while working alone in a private workspace. A face mask must be worn in common workspaces or when others are present in the employee’s workspace.
    • Face masks that meet the minimum criteria listed above must be worn by all students, staff, faculty and visitors while inside a University building. This includes all in-person classroom settings, public or communal work areas, libraries, dining settings and residence hall common areas.
    • Face masks must be worn by all students, staff, faculty and visitors while outdoors on University property where appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained. This includes areas like The Pit, the quads and other outdoor gathering spaces.
    • Face masks must be worn by all students, staff, faculty and visitors while using University shuttles (e.g., P2P) and other forms of public transportation serving the campus (e.g., Chapel Hill Transit buses).
    • All students, staff, and faculty should familiarize themselves with the appropriate handling, cleaning and disposal of their face masks. Following the handling of any face mask (including placing on and removal from one’s face), the wearer should immediately wash or sterilize their hands. After use, reusable masks should be stored in an appropriate manner (e.g., a paper bag). Disposable masks should be thrown away immediately in an appropriate trash receptacl
  • Gloves: According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Frequent hand-washing is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks. Employees who will be interacting with the public or operating in a public setting where materials will be frequently exchanged are advised to wear disposable gloves. The University will provide gloves for these individuals. Instructions for how to remove and dispose of gloves properly will be available at the UNC Environment Health & Safety website.

Physical Distancing


  • When on campus, all individuals must maintain appropriate physical distancing from others at all times while wearing a face mask.
  • Any community member attending an event or gathering must wear a mask and must comply with physical distancing standards.
  • The University will set limits for events and gatherings on campus. Limits for off-campus events and gatherings are set by state and municipal authorities.
  • All gatherings or events on campus, formal or informal, may not exceed 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors regardless of location, unless otherwise provided. Even within these limits, you must wear a mask and comply with physical distancing standards.
  • The limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors for gatherings or events does not apply to classrooms or other campus spaces when used for instructional purposes, research or administrative functions. Seating restrictions and other space modifications have been implemented to reduce building occupancy and promote physical distancing.

Common Areas and Meeting Rooms

  • Common areas such as break rooms, offices, restrooms, elevators, and conference rooms should be used only while adhering to physical distancing guidance.
  • All persons should wear a face mask while in common rooms (even if others are not present) to provide protection in the event other people walk in.
  • Room occupancy limits must be defined and clearly stated through appropriate signage for each laboratory. Personnel should confirm that the occupancy limit has not been reached before entering a lab or office.


  • Physical distancing of 6 feet should be observed at all times when eating or talking to someone in the workplace.
  • Individuals are encouraged to eat meals outside, if possible.
  • Meals should not be eaten in laboratory areas. They should be eaten alone or properly distanced from other individuals.
  • If common areas such as break rooms and conference areas, etc. are used for meals, the person using them must wipe down surfaces using a 70% ethanol or equivalent solution.


  • Use of elevators is subject to the required physical distancing guidance.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizers upon departing an elevator.
  • Use the stairs whenever possible and do not congregate in entrances, stairwells and elevator lobbies.

Directional Signage for Elevators, Meeting Spaces, etc.

  • UNC Creative has made available a suite of UNC branded signage for hallways, elevators, meeting spaces, and more. These resources can be downloaded from the Brand Templates drop-down menu on the UNC Creative downloads page.

Hygiene and Cleaning


  • Although already a best practice for all researchers and trainees, during the pandemic it is imperative that hand washing become more frequent and more thorough. Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds.
  • Hands should be washed before interacting with a research participant and immediately after the session is over.
  • Please view the CDC’s “Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way.”
  • Also please view the CDC video on handwashing.
  • Provide guests the opportunity to wash hands if they are visiting you in your facility.
  • If hand washing is not an available option, use hand sanitizer to disinfect hands.
  • All individuals should thoroughly wash their hands or use provided hand sanitizer:
    • At least hourly,
    • Before entering or exiting buildings, laboratories or offices if they have been in a public space or near others, and
    • Before and after handling their facemask.
  • Hand sanitizer will be made available throughout University facilities.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Research work may involve the frequent use of shared equipment. The University is increasing the cleaning frequency of common/public spaces; however, it is critical that all faculty, staff, and students share the responsibility of cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces in their workspaces (e.g., light switches, doorknobs, etc.).
  • Cleaning products and hand sanitizers will be provided by the University for this purpose. Supplies will be distributed to ‘distribution coordinators’ for each school, department, and/or center and these individuals are responsible for distribution to research personnel.
  • Occupants of all research facilities should clean/wipe all high-touch surfaces when beginning work, at the end of the day, and at least four additional times daily.
  • Shared equipment should be cleaned and wiped after each use.

Safety Monitoring

  • Research facilities and buildings will be periodically monitored to ensure required safety measures are being practiced.
  • If an employee is found to be out of compliance with the required practices, they will be counseled on the need for compliance with the required practices outlined in this guidance. Further instances of non-compliance may result in the employee being subject to disciplinary measures in accordance with applicable University policies.
  • Compliance with required practices is a shared community responsibility.
  • Individuals may report non-compliance by calling the Ethics Point Hotline at (866) 294–8688.

Visitor Policy

  • Visitors are asked to adhere to Carolina’s community standards and county requirements to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, individuals should avoid gathering in large groups and avoid crowded areas. When indoors, all individuals must wear a face covering or face mask and observe facility specific requirements on physical distancing.