Coronavirus News Archives
Update November 24th, 1:06pm
Thanksgiving is the best word to describe the sentiment across the main campus as Carolina University celebrates the successful conclusion of the fall semester void of COVID-19 outbreaks or clusters over the past fourteen weeks. Faculty, staff and students deserve commendation for their stellar efforts in taking the warnings seriously, carefully following protocols and keeping each other safe. Now all are being encouraged to remain vigilant over the holidays to protect themselves and others and to return for a safe and successful spring semester.
COVID-19 numbers are surging and expected to get worse during the colder months making social distancing, mask wearing, frequent hand washing, etc. more important than ever. Students who are traveling home must be even more cautious to protect not only themselves but their more vulnerable relatives who may be in the same home. Keep in mind that younger people are often asymptomatic, meaning that they could unwittingly transmit the virus to parents, grandparents and others who are far more vulnerable without even knowing they were infected.
At the heart of the Carolina University mission is a goal to make “Christ-centered” more than just a slogan, and that begins with loving others and caring deeply about their wellbeing. Let’s all put that into practice over the holidays and come back together in January to begin the spring semester like we ended the fall semester.
Update July 23rd, 6:06pm
The Reopen CU Plan
Carolina University plans to reopen the main campus in Winston-Salem, NC on August 3 with the Residency Module for PhD in Leadership students. The undergraduate Fall semester officially launches on August 18 with both on-campus and online classes scheduled to begin that day. The goal will be to reopen with zero coronavirus on day one.
To date there have been no reports of people on campus while contagious, and the campus has been almost entirely vacated since mid-March. To lower COVID-19 risks for students, faculty, and staff as well as family and friends at home, the following protocols have been recently added to the previous list announced on May 20.
- CU will not offer living arrangements larger than two people per room to help prevent the transmission of the virus. The University regrets the high likelihood of being unable to provide housing for all students who hope to live in on-campus housing. Students should make deposits as quickly as possible to reserve housing.
- Student Services will announce a staggered approach for student arrivals to residence halls and undergraduate apartments to avoid a high-density move-in experience.
- A nurse has been retained by the University as an extra measure of safety, and temperature screening.
- Ten percent of residence hall rooms have been reserved for quarantine and isolation purposes. Students testing positive for COVID-19 who wish to remain on campus will move into an isolation room. Meals will be delivered, and the nurse will carefully monitor symptoms and advise accordingly.
- In certain circumstances, students returning or arriving on campus will be expected to self-sequester for seven to ten days.
- On campus dining will have “to go” options provided by Aramark.
- Clean air is critical in the fight against the spread of coronavirus, and the campuswide HVAC systems are optimum. Lee, Patterson, and Stevens residence halls have individual PTAC units in each room with the air circulating to the outside instead of into common spaces. Griffith and Deeds halls utilize boilers and chillers that heat and cool by circulating water through pipes instead of through air exchanges.
- Coronavirus is primarily an airborne contagion, so face covering and social distancing will be required and strictly enforced. Violators will be fined and repeat offenders will be removed from the campus.
- Weekly chapels and convocations will be virtual this Fall to avoid large gatherings, and the theme will be Pivot Don’t Panic.
- To prevent unnecessary travel, the Fall semester will begin on August 18 and end just before Thanksgiving without a Fall break. This will be a fourteen-week semester divided into two seven-week sessions with half of the classes offered in each.
- Employees in vulnerable categories will continue to telecommute.
Other safety protocols are ready to be implemented should they become necessary as the semester progresses with a goal of mitigating COVID-19 risks as much as possible. However, the reality is that every way forward carries some risk, even staying at home. One survey in New York concluded that 66% of people hospitalized there with COVID-19 had become infected while sheltering in place. That is particularly dangerous for the far more vulnerable elderly population when young and old live under the same roof.
Several studies have concluded that more younger people are becoming infected, but the elderly suffer more severe outcomes. The CDC states, “8 out of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the United States have been among adults aged 65 years and older.” (Source: cdc.gov)
As of this writing, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) COVID-19 shows that 0% of those under the age of 25 who have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina have died.
The actual number of COVID-19 deaths in the state for the under-25 population is only 3 people out of 1,700 total deaths meaning that someone who is of college age or younger has a 99.8% chance of surviving if infected. Winston-Salem has the additional advantage of two world-class medical centers.
The goal of Carolina University is to do everything possible to prioritize the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff as well as friends and family back home without sacrificing academic excellence or whole person development. The University’s plans were designed to accomplish that goal, but they may have to be adjusted going forward as required by state and local regulations, public health conditions or other considerations.
Update May 20th, 3:44pm
Fall 2020 Plans to Reopen CU
Carolina University is planning to be fully operational by August 2020. The Reopen CU plan continues to make the health, safety, and welfare of students, employees, and visitors the highest priority by implementing policies based on guidance provided by governmental and health authorities and building on the advantages CU enjoys. Two of those advantages are the flexibility and affordability featured in all academic delivery options with most degrees and classes already available online, on-campus, or a hybrid of the two. All three modalities provide unparalleled value by combining extremely competitive tuition with the highly rated and superior quality of CU web-based and face-to-face delivery options.
Students and their families can be comforted knowing that the following steps are planned for Main-Campus students for the fall semester.
- The class attendance policy will be waived.
- Students will be able to choose to attend synchronous classes in person or via teleconference.
- Students will have the option of taking all classes online for the entire semester even if living in the residence halls.
- Students will be allowed to choose to transition to online any time during the semester without penalty.
- No student will be punished academically for making health-based decisions as long as they stay engaged, communicate clearly with faculty, and take responsibility for successfully completing all requirements on time.
- All students will be encouraged to express their concerns and make requests regarding their health and safety, and University faculty and staff will be instructed to accommodate them in every way possible.
- All faculty and staff will be instructed to ensure maximum flexibility to provide outstanding service while ensuring a quality academic experience for all students.
- Deep cleaning and disinfecting policies will ensure that hand-sanitizing stations are ubiquitous across the campus, and commonly touched surfaces are cleaned multiple times a day.
- Face coverings and social distancing will be required across the entire campus as informed by government and health authorities.
- Policies and procedures will be implemented for COVID-19 screening, testing, and the self-reporting of symptoms along with steps to be taken including seeking medical care immediately, moving to an isolation apartment until test results return, and moving to a quarantine facility or home if testing positive.
- A number of individual apartments will be reserved as isolation units for students who experience symptoms or fear they may have been exposed to the virus.
- Policies and procedures will be implemented to protect those who are more vulnerable to serious illness or death from a COVID-19 infection including telecommuting options for various faculty and staff.
- Administrators will stay in touch with medical professionals and thought leaders in higher education to continually research and implement best practices.
- A new mobile app will be launched that potentially enables the University to contact, track, assess, and instantaneously communicate with students, and facilitate their learning in a dynamic manner.
As the coronavirus situation changes over the next few weeks, other decisions will be made in accordance with guidance from government and health authorities and in line with best practices across higher education. Some options being considered include:
- Utilizing larger classrooms, the gym, and student center for classes with individual desks spaced six feet apart.
- Setting up workstations and computers in the student center immediately to serve local students this summer who have limited tech at home.
- Rotating students on a staggered basis between online and face-to-face.
- Transitioning from 4-day class weeks to 5 or 6 to ensure maximum usage of our largest classrooms that best accommodate social distancing.
- Restricting event and athletic competition sizes.
- Offering one-person-per-room options in the residence halls.
- Having students maintain social distancing in chapel services by spreading out across the large auditorium.
- Staggering meal times in the cafeteria.
- Determining the best approaches for screening, taking temperature, and testing.
While no institution can honestly promise that everyone will be healthy and safe, CU is doing everything possible to continue to prioritize the health, safety, and welfare of CU students, employees, and visitors. Winston-Salem is blessed to have two world-class medical centers combined with low numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths (eight reported deaths in Forsyth County as of this writing on May 20, 2020), and college-aged students have an extremely low COVID-19 mortality rate compared to the rest of the population. However, they could easily spread this very contagious virus to those who are more vulnerable, and CU is committed to plans, policies, processes, and procedures to mitigate those risks as much as possible.
Finally, a number of decisions will be made over the next few weeks as the situation unfolds and new guidance is issued. These will be posted on the CU website and emailed to students, faculty, and staff. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters together.
Update April 3rd, 2:57pm
First COVID-19 Case at CU
Carolina University has received notification that a main campus employee has tested positive for COVID-19 after exhibiting symptoms which required hospitalization over the last few days. This individual was last on campus three weeks ago on March 13. As a result, we have no reason to believe that students or other employees were exposed to COVID-19 via this employee. We are grateful that the employee chose to self-quarantine well before experiencing symptoms based on being in proximity of someone at a family gathering that they discovered was likely infected with COVID-19.
The employee chose to voluntarily notify CU upon receipt of the diagnosis and gave me permission to share this with the Carolina University family. We ask that you join us in prayer for God’s healing and blessings during recovery while the family continues to self-quarantine at home.
Given the rapid spread of the virus throughout the nation, we expect that we will receive additional notifications of students, faculty and staff who have either come into contact with an individual who has COVID-19 and/or have tested positive themselves. We are dedicated to remaining transparent as this situation continues to develop both on and off the campus.
While we are committed to protecting the privacy of everyone in the CU family, employees and students who have been directly exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case or received a positive diagnosis themselves are asked to consider voluntarily notifying:
- Employees notify Human Resources in writing by emailing email@example.com
- Students notify Student Services in writing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Indicate the date that symptoms were first identified and/or that a positive COVID diagnosis was received
- Indicate all times that they were present on campus during the prior 14 days
- Indicate all campus locations that they were present at during the prior 14 days
- Indicate all other employees and/or students with whom they had direct contact on campus during the prior 14 days
The University may inquire about additional details on a case-by-case basis as each notification is evaluated.
It remains vitally important for all members of the University community to continue to take advantage of teleworking/e-learning opportunities and employ best social distancing practices. The University’s coronavirus response team continues to follow guidelines and procedures recommended by federal, state and local health authorities. As such, we ask that you review CDC guidelines for recognizing symptoms, evaluating exposure and taking appropriate measures if sick: cdc.gov.
Moving forward, the University will provide updates about future cases and/or exposure on its Coronavirus webpage at carolinau.edu/coronavirus, and will continue to consult with the health department regarding all future COVID-19 cases.
Update March 20th, 2:44pm
Financial Support for New Students
Carolina University is here to support employees and their families impacted by the COVID-19 virus and its economic influence. Employees in the airline, hospitality, food service, restaurant management, the education system (public, private, or higher education), medical, law enforcement, or a veteran apply to the first-year COVID-19 support funding.
The COVID-19 support is 50% off the first-year tuition, which could equal approximately $6,000. This is for any new first-year, full-time online or on-campus student who is enrolling for an undergraduate or graduate degree. This tuition cut is still pairable with federal funding, student loans, grants, and any additional financial assistance the student receives from outside parties. Furthermore, a student may qualify for federal loans to help not only assist with tuition but also living expenses (note: CU's general scholarship rule applies).
The COVID-19 scholarship is available to new students who enroll at CU after the date of this announcement.
Carolina University is here to help provide future security to families through investment in education.
Update March 17th, 5:52pm
Faculty Staff Coronavirus Instructions
On Monday and Tuesday faculty and staff did everything in their power to assist on-campus students as they moved out of the residence halls to travel home where they will begin online classes on Monday, March 23. Now the University is turning its full attention to the well-being of faculty and staff and the desire to do everything possible to support the nationwide effort to slow and hopefully stop the community spread of COVID-19.
The CDC has stated that older people are twice as likely to have serious illness from the novel coronavirus, especially those with underlying health issues, such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, or compromised immune systems. As a result, the President instructed those who are sixty years old or older or at risk for other reasons to begin working from home immediately.
Beginning tomorrow, serious measures will be implemented across the entire campus in an effort to protect faculty and staff and do our part in preventing community spread of the novel coronavirus. This will be accomplished through a combination of work-from-home options and social distancing requirements for those who do work on campus. Every employee will communicate directly with Cabinet-level administrators for instructions and guidance and to ensure that all technological and other resources are in place wherever you may be working. For the vast majority of employees, that will be from home.
Update March 17th, 3:55pm
No one could have imagined two months ago when the semester started that an announcement like this one would have to be made. Carolina University commencement is only seven weeks away, but yesterday the CDC recommended that gatherings of more than fifty people should be halted for the next eight weeks. As a result, we are canceling our spring commencement ceremony that had been scheduled for May 1. This decision will not affect anyone’s graduation from CU, as all students who are eligible to graduate in May will do so.
While we deeply regret having to cancel this momentous event, the circumstances are extraordinary, and we must err on the side of caution and do our part to preserve public health and the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff. Also, we decided that it would be inconsiderate to hold out hope only to have many students and families scuttle plans at the last moment.
We were eagerly looking forward to celebrating your accomplishments, the sacrifices of parents and others who helped you reach this milestone, and the beginning of Carolina University's 75th anniversary. We know that this decision is very upsetting for many of our graduates and their friends and families. Our students work incredibly hard to earn Carolina University degrees and deserve to be celebrated with their friends, professors, families and loved ones. We still intend to find a way to make that happen, and a variety of alternative options are under consideration including the possibility of hosting this significant event at a later date. We again thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters together.
Update March 15th, 4:14pm
Taking All On-Campus Classes Online
Two days ago, United States President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 100 people and closing K-12 schools in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Today, President Trump and Vice President Pence said that the federal government is considering domestic travel restrictions. While CU has no known cases of COVID-19 at this time and no federal, state, or local orders have been issued to close colleges, Carolina University has decided to take the following actions to ensure the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff and do our part to help limit community spread of the virus.
A second week of spring break will begin immediately for all classes (including both on-campus and online). All classes will resume beginning March 23, and all on-campus classes will be taken online through the rest of the semester. There will not be a separate Easter break. Main campus students who are not normally enrolled in online courses are encouraged to use this week to safely travel home, become familiar with the technology, and be ready to excel in the online environment beginning next week. You are required to check your email often for instructions, connection to faculty and advisors, and various other important information. Also, make sure that Carolina University officials have all of your home contact information before you leave campus.
All students who are currently living in the residence halls must remove personal items and move out by Tuesday at noon. Hopefully, this will give everyone a chance to go home before potential federal or state travel bans are implemented. We understand that some of you may have circumstances that make it difficult or impossible to return home. If you are an international student or believe you may have a situation that makes it impossible or impractical to leave the campus by noon on Tuesday, you may fill out an online form that will be emailed separately to request an exception. You may also reach out directly to Student Services. Permissions to remain are issued at the discretion of the University, and students who remain do so at their own risk acknowledging that facilities may be limited.
Student workers and RA’s will be relieved of all campus responsibilities by Tuesday at noon, and the campus will only be open to essential faculty and staff from that time. The Library may be open during restricted hours. Please check your email often for communications in this regard.
This is a quickly developing situation, and a task force is being established to stay on top of all aspects and make plans across a broad range of issues this crisis has presented. Your inevitable questions about work study funds, room and board, commencement schedule, etc. are very important and currently being discussed. Your patience will be appreciated as we work through this unprecedented pandemic together. Please check your email and the CU website often for the latest information and answers to your questions.
Finally, at the very heart of Carolina University's mission is a passion to be Christ centered, and nothing provides a better platform for living that mission than facing daunting challenges. While we may be tempted to run and hide or care only about ourselves, the example of Jesus Christ demonstrates something very different. His deep love drove Him to serve others even when it meant personal risk and total sacrifice. Everyone in the Carolina University family is encouraged to let that light shine during this unprecedented global crisis. Pray diligently, serve unselfishly, and be willing to sacrifice gracefully.
Update March 15th, 9:36am
Further Updates Coming Tonight
CU officials have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and carefully following guidelines issued by government and healthcare authorities to best ensure the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff. The CU Cabinet has another meeting scheduled this afternoon to discuss the latest developments and finalize plans. A statement will be released to the Carolina University family this evening.
Update March 12th, 4:49pm
Cancelling All Athletic Events and Large Gatherings
Two days ago, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency over the spread of the coronavirus. You can read the full statement at ncdhhs.gov. Yesterday, the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. Today, The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) announced the first two coronavirus cases in Forsyth County.
There are no known diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the Carolina University faculty, staff, or student body, but CU leaders are carefully monitoring developments and following applicable guidelines from government and health authorities. Currently, NC DHHS is “not recommending pre-emptive school closures.” However, they are recommending “that organizers of mass gathering events that primarily draw high-risk persons, including those that attract older adults, should consider cancelling or postponing these events.”
Consequently, Carolina University is immediately canceling all home and away athletic events and all large gatherings (over 20 people) until April 1 or until further notice. That will include chapel services, convocation programs, preview day, spring formal, etc. Check with Student Services for more information and updates.
Finally, CU is requiring that all faculty, staff and students follow NC DHHS travel guidelines including their recommendation “that all travelers returning from countries and US states impacted by COVID-19 follow DHHS guidance on self-monitoring.” Details can be seen at ncdhhs.gov.
Again, CU leaders are committed to mitigating the coronavirus risk among the Carolina University family, are carefully monitoring developments and following government and health authorities’ guidelines, and will continue to update everyone as the situation changes.
Update March 12th, 8:15am
Initial Statement on COVID-19
Carolina University’s administrators have been closely monitoring novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) developments from the time its discovery became public. On February 25th, CU’s President Charles Petitt addressed a gathering of faculty, staff, and students shortly after officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it’s not a matter of if but when the new coronavirus will spread in the United States. In that address and subsequent emails, the Administration has kept the Carolina University family informed of best practices, latest updates, and who to contact if someone becomes ill, because nothing is more important than the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.
CU leaders understand the importance of doing everything possible to help prevent community spread, and they stand ready to follow guidelines issued by government or health care authorities. The Administration has discussed various options in case the spread of SARS-CoV-2 begins to have an impact closer to the campus including the possibility of taking all classes online if that were to become necessary. Virtually all CU degrees are already available online and on campus, and the transition to online-only could be carried out quickly. However, with only seven weeks left in the spring semester, Carolina University leaders are cautiously optimistic about not needing to take such drastic measures.
Everyone is being encouraged to stay calm and not panic. Infectious disease experts do not know if the spread of SARS-CoV-2 will be like the flu and begin to taper off as the weather warms, but for now everyone should act rationally and deliberately and avoid fear induced, knee-jerk reactions. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said during a dark time in America’s history, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”