Do things - just do them differently

The pandemic isn’t over, friends. But we have moved out of the “do not” phase of the pandemic at this point; now we are at “do differently.” Use the general COVID guidelines and your creativity to find ways to make things fun and keep them safer. Mainly you want to reduce the amount of shared air between you and people outside your household. Key points are to:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth and/or keep your distance from people outside your household

  • Find fresh air - ideally outdoors, otherwise in well-ventilated indoor space

  • Limit the number of people

  • Reduce the length of time

  • Seek a vaccine when you’re eligible

Most of us know the above considerations for COVID at this point of the pandemic. So the question becomes how to live life taking those into account. Anything you can do to move interactions outside and limit the number of people will help!

  • OUTDOOR SPACES: Consider ways to find or improve outdoor areas that are comfortable for socializing in varied weather. Think about porches, decks, parks, gardens, river/lakeshores, trails, or natural areas. Remember that masks are required outside on campus whenever you are closer than 6 feet to someone.

  • CREATIVE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Think of fun ways to enjoy your time outside together! Some ideas: hike, walk, disc golf, hang at a park, stargaze, bike, host a bonfire, boat, float, or go to an outdoor movie.

  • DATING: If you choose to date, be intentional! Find ways to get to know someone before meeting in person – including their COVID risks. When you start dating someone in real life, their risks become your risks.

  • EATING/DRINKING: Eating or drinking around people you don’t live with adds risk because of the need to remove your mask to consume food and beverages. Outdoors is better than indoors; fewer people is better than more people. Find places to eat and drink where it’s just you and your friend(s) instead of being exposed to more of the community. Host a backyard picnic. Remember that alcohol or drugs consumed may impact your ability to make good choices for COVID prevention and otherwise, so opt out of substances or use them in a way or in an environment that ensures your and your community’s safety.

  • INDOOR EVENTS: Safest option is to avoid them, but if you do attend, wear a well-fitting, double-layered mask and do your best to ensure others will be masked as well. Keep your distance from those outside your household. Further guidance for indoor events available at the CDC and in the Q&A below.

Two masked students in UNC gear hold up "W"s at the Dean Dome

Photo by Chibby Ogu @ogu_chibby15 on Instagram

Know that every choice you make that helps reduce COVID-19 transmission risk also helps our community stay safer and healthier. A big ol’ THANK YOU for all the ways you have shifted your daily life to support a healthier community.

Healthy Haps this week:

Monday 3/1

Tuesday 3/2

Wednesday 3/3

Thursday 3/4

Friday 3/5

Saturday 3/6

Health and Wellbeing Services

All regular services continue to operate this week on typical schedules.

Campus Health is open Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm and weekends from 8am - 5pm for telehealth and in-person visits. Phone support 24/7; the phone number becomes a nurse advice line after hours. Call for an appointment or advice: 919-966-2281.

CAPS offers 24/7 phone support at 919/966-3658. Initial screenings offered by phone 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm M-F. Follow up appointments by Zoom. Group therapy during spring semester includes over 20 groups to help you connect with students like you via Zoom.

Campus Rec is open for in-person workout and climbing reservations at Rams Head and the SRC. In addition, they offer outdoor, distanced fitness classes as well as virtual classes both on-demand and live. Outdoor programs are also happening through Carolina Adventures.

Student Wellness provides virtual support, program requests, appointments and wellbeing interventions. Learn more at

Carolina Together Testing Program is open for asymptomatic testing in all 3 locations (Union, CURRENT, Rams Head Rec) with regular hours this week. Please note these sites are no longer open on Sundays to allow for maintenance and quality assurance.

Your questions: Answered

Don’t get me wrong - I love that students can cheer in person in the Dean Dome. But how can that happen when the indoor gathering limit in North Carolina is 25 people?

The latest North Carolina guidance allows larger indoor arenas with a capacity of more than 5000 people to open at 15% capacity, as long as additional safety protocols are in place. These protocols include mask wearing, assigned distanced seating, and a guest flow plan.

The state health officials use data from testing, tracing and trends as well as consultation with the business community to determine necessary restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As North Carolina’s numbers have continued to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, the state has eased some restrictions. These changes took effect on Friday at 5pm. It lifted the stay-at-home restrictions (people are no longer required to be home between 10pm and 5am), increased gathering limits, allowed for increased occupancy of businesses, venues and arenas, and changed onsite alcohol consumption curfew from 9pm to 11pm. Details are available on the state health department website.

This shift means that students are eligible for in-person tickets to the UNC versus Duke home game on Saturday. Check your email for details from UNC Athletics.

Even if you don't win the lottery to attend or don't feel comfortable attending an in-person event, virtual watch party is happening. Or you can set up your own virtual or in-person watch plan! The state still restricts indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 when not at a business or arena. While what you can do has changed, what you should do remains the same. Outdoors is better than indoors, mask wearing is better than unmasked, fewer people is better than more people. You need to find your own tolerance of risk, but of course the least risky option is to watch with your roommates and connect with others online.

And when we #BeatDuke, also #BeatCOVID by not rushing Franklin Street. Might we suggest instead going onto your porch or driveway, banging pots and pans, and yelling “Tar” and “Heel” back and forth with all of Chapel Hill?

#GoHeels #BeatDuke #BeatCOVID

Two students sit outside with masks under a blanket during the last Duke game

Photo by Meredith Braddy @meredith.braddy on Instagram

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