UNC-Chapel Hill is extending spring break until March 23 and implementing remote learning afterward, according to an email shared with students on Wednesday. 

“There will be no academic instruction offered during (the break), and we strongly encourage students to remain off-campus,” UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz wrote. “Starting Monday, March 23, the majority of our classes will be offered remotely and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.”

The announcement follows a similar one made by Duke University on Tuesday. That decision, in turn, led to the cancelation of the affiliated Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Greensboro had already pivoted to online instruction.

Shortly after UNC-Chapel Hill sent that notice, the UNC System Board of Governors announced that all of its institutions “will transition from in-person instruction to a system of alternative course delivery, where possible and practical, no later than March 20. Alternative course delivery will begin on March 23 and last indefinitely.”

UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus will remain open, Guskiewicz told students.

“We recognize that some students will need to return to campus, so the campus will be open, including residence and dining halls, libraries, and Campus Health,” he wrote. “If you are a student who is able to take all of your classes remotely, we strongly encourage you to remain off campus until further notice.”

However, campus events for more than 50 attendees are canceled effective immediately, and event organizers “must postpone, cancel or explore virtual options for any University-affiliated events with more than 50 people both on- and off-campus until further notice.” 

This appears to effectively shutter organizations like Carolina Performing Arts.

“There is no set end date to this new arrangement,” Guskiewicz wrote. “We will constantly revisit and reevaluate our policies as the situation around COVID-19 evolves. Our hope is that we, like so many communities, can return to normalcy as soon as possible, but we must plan for digital operations through the remainder of the semester, if necessary.”

The UNC System’s mandate cancels all outside events or gatherings of 100 or more people unless they are specifically authorized by a chancellor or provost. It also cancels university-sponsored in-state travel to gatherings of 100 people or more as well as all travel outside of the state without authorization. 

In related news, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the NCAA had decided to play NCAA basketball tournament games without fans to protect against coronavirus. Greensboro was set to host games in the first and second rounds of the men’s tournament. 

This is a developing story. 

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