August 06, 2020
The Department of Chemistry has been preparing for the Fall 2020 semester. The department recognizes and places priority on the importance of providing a safe and sanitary environment for our students, faculty, and staff who will return to campus. The decisions we have made stem from careful consideration of the current situation of the virus, social distancing measures, and University protocols and guidelines. Our department has completed the following thus far and will monitor/ take action as needed:
- After careful consideration, it has been determined that 65% of our courses and labs will be remote and 35% will be in-person. The decision was based on three factors:
- COVID PPE and chemical safety measures
- UNC-CH and NC building occupancy standards during COVID-19
- Total course enrollment numbers
- Safety measures
- Our buildings have been labeled with entry and exit signs to ease the flow of foot traffic
- Signage promoting safe and sanitary practices have been posted in labs, hallways, and public display monitors
- All labs have been marked to follow social distancing guidelines
- Members in our department can anonymously report questions or concerns to SWELL, our student wellness group
- All chemistry buildings require protective face coverings to be worn at all times, following University and the State of North Carolina protocols
Five of our most popular lecture and lab courses will be held remotely; a decision that saves thousands of students from potential exposure to the virus. The courses that will be held in person are those with smaller enrollment numbers and First Year Seminars. For in-person lab courses, the decisions were based on (1) safety of labs and (2) exposure prevention.
Vice Chair for Education and Teaching Professor, Brian Hogan, provides an example of how both conditions needed to be met for an in-person lab course to take place, “The addition of masks may prevent aerosol contagion, but they increase fogging of safety goggles. As a result of the combination of masks and goggles, it decreases visibility, which could lead to injury.”
Our priority is the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We will closely monitor the situation and will take action as needed.