October 12, 2020
Dear UNCG Community,
Last week, we celebrated Founders Day – UNCG’s 128th anniversary. As we look back on our long, rich history, we should take a moment to reflect on where we are right now and what comes next for our campus and our community. Along with the rest of our faculty and staff, I am incredibly proud of our students. They have persevered, shown tremendous resilience, and demonstrated the kind of compassion and sense of community that speaks well to their collective character.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re at the midpoint of the semester. It has not been easy, to say the least, but I am grateful for the incredibly hard work of our faculty and staff, and the positive attitude of our students in this daily battle against an indiscriminate virus. When I walk around campus, I see almost total adherence to face covering and social distancing guidelines. People are looking out for each other, communicating with each other, and taking real ownership of the decisions they make each day to keep our campus running and to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible.
As you likely know, we have been conducting more testing on campus and we will continue to expand those efforts. We are watching the data about our campus daily, because we know conditions can rapidly change. Right now, our numbers are manageable, and we are executing our plans effectively, thanks to our supportive community. As we’ve said before, if data, including metrics like multiple clusters, indicates we should change plans and move instruction to an online-only environment, or make other operational or academic adjustments, we will do so without hesitation and communicate our plans quickly.
As we look ahead, there are some things you should know:
- Commencement: Last week, I sent a message to our graduating class from last May and our upcoming December graduates to tell them about upcoming commencement plans. Clearly, a large, traditional December commencement is not viable based on current state guidelines and county health directives. So, we will host a virtual commencement ceremony for undergraduate and master’s students at 10:00 a.m. on December 11. A virtual doctoral hooding ceremony will take place in January (date TBD). We have asked our May 2020 graduates to join these events as well. As you likely know, our May class did not have the opportunity for a traditional graduation ceremony because of the rapid pace of change last Spring. We are working with student leaders on plans, and we will communicate more on this in the weeks to come so you can start planning. We will do all we can to make this milestone memorable, meaningful, and joyful – our graduates certainly have earned that.
- Events and Operations: Our facilities will remain operational in their current state, with appropriate increases in access to the Kaplan Center and other shared facilities as state directives dictate. We will maintain our strict limitations on indoor and outdoor events as previously communicated (10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors for social gatherings, not including activities related to instruction or those otherwise regulated by specific guidelines in the governor’s executive orders).
- Shield our Spartans: We ask for continued vigilance from our students, faculty, and staff. Don’t host large events. Don’t go to large events. (Students have been doing a great job on this too!) UNCG Police and Greensboro Police will continue enforcing the governor’s orders. Violations of these orders are criminal offenses and subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct. Employees who do not adhere to our community standards may also be subject to disciplinary action. We appreciate that students are starting to help us identify problem areas and anticipate gatherings. We need your help. If you have concerns about a rumored event or party, please report it to our COVID-19 Incident Form: go.uncg.edu/covidconcern.
We have done well so far and I am so proud of this university – especially our students. We are halfway through the semester, and we can make it all the way together. I know it hasn’t been easy, but you are tough-minded and strong. Keep accepting the challenge each day to do what is right, and I am confident we will truly be a model for how a university can work hard, care for each other, and make it through together. Thank you, and Go Spartans!