Universities are making decisions about fall 2020. Here’s what we know.

Jackie Park, Editor-in-Chief

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has upended colleges’ schedules near and far. Change began with a quick transition to online-only courses after spring break in the UNC System and now, school systems across the country are releasing their plans for fall 2020. 

App State’s return to campus this fall comes with uncertainties, but Chancellor Sheri Everts confirmed students would resume in-person instruction in fall 2020. (Jackie Park)

In an email April 29, Interim UNC System President Bill Roper confirmed that in-person classes will resume in the fall. May 1, Chancellor Sheri Everts further confirmed that App State is also planning for in-person classes in the fall.

Since that communication, the university has not shared additional details. However, other UNC System schools, including UNC-Greensboro and UNC-Chapel Hill, and some South Carolina schools, have released plans. 

Here’s what we know about their schedules:

UNC-Charlotte: Announced May 4

-Students will return to campus in the fall two weeks later than scheduled.

-The first day of classes will take place Sep. 7.

-A complete schedule will be posted at a later date; however, the Chancellor’s Cabinet approved a proposal that would eliminate fall and Thanksgiving breaks, end classes Dec. 15 and hold exams Dec. 17-23.

UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T: Announced May 18

-Students will return to campus in the fall with an abbreviated schedule.

-Classes will begin Aug. 18 for UNCG and Aug. 19 for A&T.

-Fall break and reading day will be eliminated to end classes Nov. 24, before Thanksgiving break.

-Exams will be held online except in the case of labs and other classes that require in-person meetings. Those exams will be held Nov. 30 – Dec. 5 for UNCG and Dec. 7-11 for A&T.

UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State: Announced May 21

-Students will return to campus in the fall with an abbreviated schedule.

-Classes will start Aug. 10, eight days before Chapel Hill’s original first day of classes and nine before NC State’s. 

-Fall break will be eliminated so that classes and exams can end by Nov. 24, Thanksgiving break.

-Students will not return to campus for the remainder of the calendar year.

The University of South Carolina: Announced May 17

-Students will return to campus in the fall with an “accelerated” schedule.

-The first day of classes will be held Aug. 20, its original first day.

-Labor Day will be a remote instruction day, with classes held online and fall break canceled.

-Face-to-face instruction will end Nov. 24, when Thanksgiving break begins.

-Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 are remote class days and reading days will be held Dec. 2-4.

-Final exams are scheduled for Dec. 7-14.

Universities are also making considerations about health and safety: temperature checks, mandatory face masks and contact tracing are all ideas of universities nationwide. 

In North Carolina, Roper wrote in his April 29 communication that some schools may alter their schedules or “take action to reduce student density in campus housing and classrooms.” 

Everts wrote in her May 1 communication returning to campus without a vaccine presents “new challenges,” but the university is prepared. 

Some preparations include access to testing and personal protective equipment, higher standards for cleaning, limitations on crowd sizes, and standards on mitigating spread to high-risk individuals.