FAQs (Fall 2020 Reopening)

Course Format Capacity Planning Resources Student Support/
Faculty Guidance

Course Format

1) Does every course this fall have to include a remote/online option?
Courses that are designated in-person are not required to have a remote option. However, all instructors should plan ahead and determine remote learning options that can be assigned as necessary for students who need to miss a class(es), due to illness. Instructors also are encouraged to plan for possible changes in instruction delivery in the event that the University must move to fully online instruction. The Chancellor’s letter on Sept. 22 gives further guidance.

2) For the different course-delivery modes, it seems that there may be differences in contact hours for different groups. Is this acceptable?
Contact hours will remain the same regardless of the mode of course delivery. SACS allows “classroom time” and “direct instruction” time to be interchangeable. The activities online that can count toward direct instruction are: online lectures/instruction, video conferencing, video presentations, chat rooms, discussion boards, group or team‐based activities, online tests/quizzes, virtual labs, directly supervised field experiences, and online content modules.

3) For hybrid-delivery courses, if only half of the students meet face-to-face on Tuesday and the other half of the students meet face-to-face on Thursday, how do the students get their full contact time unless the faculty offers another session that week?
In this example, the other half is attending online synchronously. Thus, all of the students get the same amount of contact time.

4) Science lab classes typically require students and faculty to work together on the same materials and equipment, in close proximity. Should such hands-on activities be cancelled and/or converted to some kind of online distance education experience?
Each academic department has addressed safety in labs due to the pandemic, as well as the possibility of alternatives that will be advantageous to students and faculty. The Division of Research and Economic Development offers additional guidance to researchers. Faculty should consult with department heads.

5) How will UNC Charlotte handle classes in labs?
The protocols for using labs for academic instruction are determined and communicated by the academic department.

6) Is there a way to streamline course delivery changes in Banner, and will Banner record that a course has been changed to a hybrid format or to an online format with synchronous and asynchronous components?
All requests for schedule changes in Banner must go through the current Associate Dean approval process. The Office of the Registrar will make the requested changes, in coordination with OneIT. Changes made locally by a department will not be reflected on individual student registrations prior to the change. The Office of the Registrar is already tracking changes to instructional methods now. Once the change is made by the Office of the Registrar, it will be visible to students.

7) Due to the delayed in-person opening to October 1, can faculty members decide to change their course delivery method to fully online?
The Chancellor made an announcement Sept. 22 that certain courses should plan to meet in-person beginning Oct. 1. These are courses that make use of facilities and equipment (e.g., science and engineering labs, studios, clinicals) and lower division classes (e.g., top 40) that are important for incoming students. Classes in these areas/levels should follow the format for which students registered. Not all these courses had a face-to-face component and these are not expected to change. Faculty are not required to offer students multiple formats for the same section, although flexibility in meeting student needs is encouraged. For other courses, including graduate classes, flexibility in format is possible and is at the discretion of the faculty member. After Thanksgiving break, all classes, including final exams, will move online.

8) How do I request exceptions for in-person instruction (clinicals, practica, internships, etc.) during the first three weeks of the semester?
Requests for exceptions to the fully online directive should be coordinated with your Associate Dean.

9) Can students enrolled in research courses come to the lab for research prior to October 1?
Yes, students will be able to resume research on campus beginning August 31. They will not have to wait until we begin face-to-face classes in October. Nevertheless, students will need to follow all protocols and procedures described in the approved restart plans for each lab.

10) Am I required to change the format of my course beginning October 1st?
Unless your course fits an exemption for in-person (Top 40, engineering, science lab, studio, performance art, clinicals, architecture), then your course should remain online throughout the fall 2020 semester. After Thanksgiving, all fall 2020 courses and exams must be delivered online.

11) If my course that fits an exempt category has an in-person component, how should I accommodate students who wish to remain online?
Faculty are asked to provide maximum flexibility to students who are uncomfortable returning to the classroom. Faculty are encouraged to work with AISLE and the Center for Teaching and Learning to support students who need to remain remote.

12) Can I decide after September 25th to change the format of my course?
No. Faculty must affirm the course format in an email or Canvas announcement to students by September 25, 2020, so students can make an informed decision regarding student housing for the fall semester prior to the cancellation deadline.

13) Is it too late for a student to withdraw from a class? Is there a penalty?
Students who find it necessary to withdraw from a class during the semester will receive a grade of WE, withdrawal for extenuating circumstances. Students are advised to consult an advisor before doing so and be aware of the enrollment requirements for financial aid.

Capacity Planning

1) Can faculty choose their preferred mode of course delivery?
Department chairs/school directors should work with their faculty to determine the plan for their unit.

2) Is there a percentage of a department’s offerings that must be face-to-face?
Recognizing that departmental and college needs differ, there is no specific percentage that is required for FTF instruction in each department. Department chairs/school directors should work with their faculty to determine the plan for their unit. Enrollment for the University as a whole is approximately 50% online and 50% with an in-person component (either F2F or hybrid).

3) When scheduling hybrid classes, departments can select the percent of content that is online such as 50-74% or 75-100%. Is it acceptable to choose whichever percentage the unit thinks is best while keeping the guiding principles in mind?
Yes, academic departments have the ability to select the percentage hybrid that makes sense for the specific class. Faculty should select the percentage that accurately reflects the online/face-to-face split. That should be determined by classroom capacity (which is determined by the social distancing numbers).

4) Can instructors remove the appropriate number of student stations to help manage social distancing requirements? Will departments get help to move/store furniture from the classrooms they control?
Yes, requests can be made to Facilities Management to assist with moving furniture.

5) Will there be a process in place to switch a low-capped class into a larger classroom so it can safely meet in a face-to-face format?
Yes, such requests should be submitted to Academic Affairs through the Associate Dean of the college.

6) What happens to a hybrid-delivery course when a student petitions to take it only online?
When a course has multiple sections, the department should offer at least one section online to accommodate those students who cannot come to campus. But in cases in which there is only one section, if the course is required, then departments will need to think about a plan for accommodating students who have no alternative.

7) How will classrooms be arranged for physical distancing?

We are balancing space, staffing and instructional capacity with course format. We are in the process of adjusting section capacities and classrooms as needed to get to as close to 6 feet separation as possible. The vast majority of our classrooms will have 6 feet of separation between students. For a small percentage of other classes, they will be as close to 6 feet apart as possible. All students and faculty will wear masks when in classrooms, and our ventilation systems have been tested and found to exceed the minimum standards for health and safety.


1) Will all classrooms be equipped with necessary equipment to stream and record instruction for hybrid-delivery courses?
Every classroom will be equipped with a USB microphone (but not a webcam) and will be capable of screen recordings and castings. The Center for Teaching and Learning and OneIT are developing training materials and will offer workshops about how to use Kaltura Personal Capture to make those recordings and upload them to your My Media folder in Kaltura and then link them to the relevant course.

2) Will purchases of wireless headsets and/or webcams be categorized as COVID-19 related expenditures?
Requests for resources related to classroom space, technology needs, and funding to increase capacity in existing courses should be submitted to Academic Affairs through the Associate Dean of the college via the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Academic Affairs Resource Request Form.

Student Support/Accommodations

1) How is the University assisting students who need help with available technologies so they can access and be part of online course delivery?
Distance Education provides resources to help students adapt to online and hybrid learning. Additional resources are being explored.

2) How can students access the Internet if they have limited access at home?

We know some people have trouble accessing the Internet at home. UNC Charlotte is one of close to 20,000 eduroam campuses across the US that provides free wifi service. There are 38 sites across the Carolinas alone, including many campuses in the UNC System. Find an eduroam site near you on this interactive map. If you can get a WiFi signal at any of these sites and if your device has already been configured for eduroam, it will automatically connect. Otherwise, simply choose the Eduroam network and log in to eduroam.

3) If a student requests 100% online delivery of a course that is scheduled as face-to-face or hybrid, are instructors required to provide it?

We seek to work with students as much as possible to allow them to progress through their course of study. Students should first contact their academic advisor to discuss possible options, such as enrolling in an online section of the same course or choosing another course that will meet the requirement. If this is not possible, then students should work with their course instructor to determine if reasonable adjustments can be made. We expect every instructor to have remote options available for course requirements in case of student illness during the semester. However, instructors have the authority to determine whether or not they can accommodate a student who requests fully online instruction.

Faculty Guidance

1) Are faculty being consulted and listened to in a systematic way?
University leadership is regularly consulting with the Faculty Council president and Faculty Executive Committee (including Epidemiology faculty) as decisions for Fall 2020 are considered. Faculty members are encouraged to share ideas by contacting the Faculty Council president or their Faculty Council unit representative.

2) Will there be a policy requiring mask-wearing on campus? How should faculty respond to students not wearing masks in the classroom?

Yes, every individual is expected to follow the Niner Pledge. The Faculty Council President will send further guidance on enforcing the policy. Faculty members are encouraged to include this statement in course syllabi: “It is the policy of UNC Charlotte for the Fall 2020 semester that as a condition of on-campus enrollment, all students are required to engage in safe behaviors to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the 49er community. Such behaviors specifically include the requirement that all students wear CDC-compliant face coverings while in buildings including in classrooms, labs, and in other instances where social distancing is not possible. Students are permitted to remove face coverings in classroom or lab settings only when I explicitly grant permission to do so (such as while asking a question, participating in class discussion, or giving a presentation) and while at an appropriate physical distance from others. Failure to comply with this policy in the classroom or lab may result in dismissal from the current class session. If the student refuses to leave the classroom or lab after being dismissed, the student may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for charges under the Code of Student Responsibility.”

3) How should I address student absences related to symptoms of COVID-19?

Students are asked to stay home if they are sick. While students are responsible for fulfilling course requirements, faculty members are asked to reward participation rather than attendance. Faculty should not be punitive with absences due to illness. Instead, faculty members are encouraged to provide remote options for students to participate and complete coursework in order for a student to fulfill requirements in the event of illness. For suggested syllabus language related to student absenteeism, please refer to the language provided by the Office of Legal Affairs.

4) Can instructors require temperature checks or other safety procedures of students in order to enter the classroom?

No, University guidance prohibits this. It states that university employees cannot require additional medical rules or requirements (e.g. temperature checks, testing, quarantining, etc.) for employees, students, or others entering your space without prior coordination with the Office of Emergency Management.

5) With the change to fully online instruction in September, is September 28-29 a fall break with no instruction expectation?
No, this should not be considered a fall break. We are trying to accommodate the needs of 4,700 students who need to move in, not to restore the break. We have to make up the instructional time. Therefore, we are not pausing graduate classes. Also, we cannot give up days for graduation. Faculty and students will need to make up the time at a later time in the semester either with asynchronous assignments or by rescheduling to a Saturday. View Schedule Interruption Guidelines.

6) Are there modifications for the associated deadlines for non tenure-track faculty?

Review processes and schedules for non tenure-track faculty are handled at the college. Please consult with your dean. Information for tenure-track faculty is here.

Last updated: 05/27/20