Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about COVID-19 and NC State's ongoing response? Look for the answer below, or explore our dedicated resources for students and families or faculty and staff.

For more detailed information specific to emergency operations and human resources, you can visit Emergency Management and Mission Continuity and University Human Resources.

This information is subject to change. Last updated: Aug. 26, 2020.

Campus Operations

Yes, with some exceptions:
  • As of Aug. 24, undergraduate courses are being taught online. 
  • As of Aug. 26, students who occupy university housing have been instructed to schedule a time to move out between Thursday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Sept. 6
  • Dining halls, libraries and student centers are open. 
  • Some graduate courses and labs are being offered in person or on a hybrid basis.
  • Many employees are working remotely.

Consistent with federal, state and UNC System direction, and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies, NC State has developed a return-to-work guide specific to COVID-19 for all campus employees, as well as workplace safety standards specific to COVID-19.

NC State continues to work closely with state health officials, the UNC System, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA on plans for fall athletics. For more information on changes to schedules and other guidelines, please visit the NC State Athletics website.

The university is reconfiguring dining spaces and furniture to help maintain distance between diners, in accordance with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services requirements. All dining employees are required to wear protective masks, and guests are required to do the same while in service areas. Shopping and dining areas will be cleaned frequently. More information about dining operations and precautions is regularly updated on the NC State Dining website.

Although NC State hoped and strived to keep residence halls open and safe to best serve our students in the fall semester, the rapid spread and increasing rate of positive COVID-19 cases among the campus community made our situation untenable.

Therefore, NC State students who occupy university housing have been instructed to schedule a time to move out of on-campus residences, unless an exception is granted.

To help ensure physical distancing, move-out will occur over an 11-day period, by appointment, beginning Thursday, Aug. 27, and ending Sunday, Sept. 6. University Housing has provided more specific information here. Residents of Greek Village will be provided separate information from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Students will receive prorated refunds for unused portions of housing and dining for the fall semester. Students currently in on-campus quarantine or isolation must be cleared by Student Health Services before moving out.

Current residents can apply for waivers to remain in on-campus housing for a number of reasons, but our goal is to reduce the on-campus population significantly.

If the state lifts restrictions for gyms and fitness centers as part of North Carolina’s reopening plan, the Carmichael Complex anticipates reopening Saturday, Sept. 12. The following precautions and changes are in place:

  • Currently, face coverings will be strongly recommended but not required during workouts. However, face coverings are required while entering any facility and moving throughout the complex.
  • Many spaces have been reorganized and repurposed to encourage physical distancing.
  • To safely limit the number of individuals in fitness centers and swim lap lanes, students and members will be encouraged to reserve space in advance. Once the maximum occupancy limits are reached, no additional users may register and/or enter the activity space during each time period. Fitness centers will close for cleaning and disinfecting between each reservation time.
  • Approximately 175 people will have access to fitness centers each hour, which is around 50% of our typical fitness center capacity. However, once the Wellness and Recreation Center opens in October 2020, we expect to double the amount of fitness space available, and occupancy will return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • Some facility spaces will remain unavailable when Carmichael opens in August. These include basketball courts, the climbing wall, equipment checkout, indoor track, racquetball courts and showers.
  • In-person group fitness classes will start in the fall.

Intramural sports will be limited to virtual offerings and in-person events that meet physical distancing guidelines. Many club sports organizations plan to operate following physical distancing guidelines and restrictions provided by their national governing body.

As with all spaces on campus, face coverings will be required in the libraries where physical distancing is not possible. Library facilities will no longer be open 24 hours and will operate on a modified schedule throughout the week. This is to help ensure the safety of students and staff, while allowing for deep cleaning of library spaces. The 24/7 online library will operate as usual. Additional changes include:
  • Access to all library facilities will be limited to NC State students, faculty and staff, as well as university affiliates with a Wolfpack One Card, including Centennial Campus partners.
  • Seating density will be reduced to accommodate physical distancing. In-depth consultations and high-density workshops will be offered online.
  • The exchange of certain quick-use items like headphones and print textbook uses will be limited or replaced with giveaways or scanning.
  • The libraries will continue to offer more long-term technology lending for those who need laptops, webcams and the like for online courses. Short-term technology items will be quarantined and cleaned before being lent to others.
  • Group collaboration and learning spaces will operate at reduced capacity. For example, group study rooms will become spaces for individual students or pairs of students.
  • Maker and data spaces will be available for use by individuals or pairs of students.

For more information, please visit the University Libraries website.

The university is making changes to its campus bus system, Wolfline, to help reduce the risk of COVID-19. Drivers and riders will be required to wear face coverings, and some seats will be blocked off to help maintain physical distancing between passengers. Only three passengers will be allowed to stand on the bus. Standing spaces will be marked with floor decals. Riders will enter through the front door only and will fill available seats from the rear to front of the bus. They will exit through the rear door only. Buses will be cleaned daily with an EPA-approved disinfectant. When weather permits, we will open the roof hatches on buses to increase fresh airflow.

NC State will redesign bus schedules, resulting in fewer routes but increased frequency so buses will be less crowded. Students, employees and visitors are encouraged to use the ParkMobile app for short-term parking. For more information, visit the NC State Transportation website.

Testing and Contact Tracing

NC State will continue to monitor state and local trends, and we will track student and employee absences for COVID-19-related symptoms. We will also collect data and monitor through self-reporting, the contact tracing program and visits to Student Health Services.

We will not be conducting campuswide testing, nor will we be conducting routine temperature checks. We are testing students who present with possible COVID-19 symptoms in Student Health Services, and we are testing students and employees who are being followed in our contact tracing program. We are evaluating the possibility of testing surveillance populations. Temperature checks on people who are not symptomatic results in a large number of false positives, and even people who are infected with the coronavirus may be asymptomatic and not have a fever.

Review this video about the contact tracing program for more information.

Student Health Services can perform viral testing of students seen and evaluated in SHS who are ill, and of students and employees who are identified as potentially being exposed as part of NC State’s contact tracing program. 

The cost of testing is covered by most insurance companies. Insurance generally does not pay for testing for people who are not in either of the categories above. The cost for a test is currently $115. Antibody testing in SHS is only being done under very special circumstances after evaluation by and on the recommendation of a health care provider.  

Outside of the contact tracing program, employees should talk with their health care providers regarding testing.


At this time we are not planning to test all students, faculty or staff. An active testing center can only test 300-400 people per day. With the size of our campus population (about 45,000 students, faculty and staff), testing could not be completed at anywhere near the speed or volume required to be meaningful, effective or realistic. We are evaluating the possibility of testing surveillance populations in order to give us actionable information.

We are focusing on education for the community; encouraging members of the NC State community to monitor their own health, seek medical attention when symptomatic and report any positive cases; and implementing a robust contact tracing program. 

The most effective way to reduce risk and limit the spread of COVID-19 is for everyone to take personal responsibility for following best practices for public health. Follow CDC guidelines. Wear face coverings that cover the mouth and nose, wash or sanitize your hands often and do not go to class or work if you have possible COVID-19 symptoms; instead, call your health care provider.

Self-report through the university’s contact tracing program if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. It will take our community working together to keep our Pack safe and healthy.

NC State Student Health Services has plans in place for contact tracing around positive COVID-19 cases with campus impacts. If you test positive for COVID-19, we encourage you to fill out a voluntary self-reporting form to help us track cases and provide additional resources and support:

For students For faculty and staff

This procedure is voluntary, and we keep the information you provide confidential. Self-reporting information helps university health care professionals conduct contact tracing and provide any resources and support you might need. Learn more about our student and employee contact tracing programs.

It’s important to note that only identified close contacts for individuals who have tested positive will be contacted via the contact tracing program.

We are encouraging all NC State students, faculty and staff to confidentially self-report either positive COVID-19 test results or a diagnosis of COVID-19 by a health care provider. To self-report, please fill out the relevant form:

For students For faculty and staff

Collecting this information helps us understand and track the impact of COVID-19 on our campus, and it allows us to follow up on any information that might affect the safety of students, faculty and staff at NC State.

Once a report is received, a member of the contact tracing program speaks with the patient to identify anyone who has had close contact with them while they were on campus. With the patient’s help, we will identify people they have been in close contact with (closer than 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes, with or without a face covering). 

A close contact list is generated going back two days before the onset of symptoms, and includes classmates, roommates, members of study groups, office colleagues and people the infected person interacted with socially. We then reach out to the close contacts and, without identifying the person who is ill, we provide resources, recommend quarantine for 14 days and schedule a follow-up. 

If you are not told you are a direct contact, you can trust that you have not been identified as one.

Students who are recommended to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to illness will be asked to do so at home. If this is not possible and the student is in campus housing, NC State has designate a limited number of campus housing units to be used for this purpose. Review this video about the contact tracing program for more information. 

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are told by a health care provider that you are presumed positive and are unable to attend classes or complete assignments, please contact your instructors as soon as possible as well as an absence verification officer. More information about NC State’s absence verification process can be found here. Please also notify the university by completing the self-reporting form.

NC State will notify individuals who potentially have come into contact with a person with COVID-19 via the contact tracing program. The university will track and be able to report total known campus cases, but we will not identify individuals or disclose other personally identifiable information.

In situations where individuals cannot be readily identified, larger notifications (such as to a residence hall, office or class section) will be distributed. In an instance of a larger public health threat, campus notifications will be sent.

Face Coverings

Beginning July 1 and at least through the fall 2020 semester, students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings in all NC State buildings and in all university programs held in nonuniversity buildings. This includes face coverings being worn at all times in classrooms and laboratories. Face coverings are also required in outdoor spaces on campus property where appropriate physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.

Face covering exceptions include private offices and residence hall rooms when alone or with a roommate. Individuals are also not required to wear a face covering when they are not in close contact with someone else, such as walking alone in an uncrowded outdoor location.

Everyone on campus is expected to carry a face covering at all times, in case they encounter an unforeseen situation where at least 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. Such situations are likely to occur in hallways, stairwells, elevators, restrooms, kitchens and break rooms, for example.

NC State will provide face coverings to all students, faculty and staff who need them. Individuals can also choose to wear their own face coverings.

Wearing face coverings is mandatory and will be required as a community standard under the Student Code of Conduct. It will be treated similar to other behavioral community standard expectations. Wearing face coverings is also a community standard for faculty and staff. 

Students not wearing face coverings in classrooms will be asked to put one on, and if they do not, they will be instructed to leave the class.

Employees not wearing face coverings as required will be asked to put one on, and if they do not, they can be asked to go home.

As with other university rules, options will be provided for community members to report individuals who are not following the requirement to wear face coverings.

No. Face shields are intended to be an additive layer of protection and not a substitute for a face covering. The intent of a well-fitting face covering is to minimize the spread of droplets and aerosols in your breath, protecting others from you. A face shield offers a barrier, but it is open at the bottom and does not effectively capture all droplets and aerosols.

Yes, clear face coverings are an acceptable alternative to fabric face coverings. The university is working to source clear face coverings for use by faculty and staff in cases where a cloth face covering may impair classroom instruction or interaction.

There will be an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to request special considerations regarding face coverings due to an accessibility issue or a range of other potential circumstances. More information will be provided to the community when this process is established. 

Protecting the Pack

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact (closer than 6 feet) with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash, and disinfect your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Use a disinfectant on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol, or a 10% bleach/water solution to disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces. Bleach solutions need to air-dry after application. For items on the EPA list, follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding “contact time,” or how long to leave the product on the surface. A product’s recommended contact time may be as short as 15 seconds or as long as two minutes.
  • The use of face coverings is recommended in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. In addition, as of July 1 the use of face coverings is required in all NC State buildings and in all university programs taking place in nonuniversity buildings. 

Physical distancing is designed to limit the spread of a disease from one person to another by reducing the opportunities for close contact between people. Strategies include using conference calls and video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings and avoiding unnecessary travel.

If you are among a group of people where anyone appears to be ill or may have had contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, try to keep a distance of 6 feet from one another.

Common signs of coronavirus infection are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you begin to have these symptoms, please follow these guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

If you test positive for COVID-19, we encourage you to fill out a voluntary self-reporting form to help us track cases and provide additional resources and support:

For students For faculty and staff

Common signs of coronavirus infection are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you begin to have these symptoms, please follow these guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

View the form

NC State has taken extensive measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus:

  • All classes were taught online during the summer of 2020.
  • As of Aug. 24, all undergraduate classes are being taught online.
  • As of Aug. 26, all students who occupy university housing are instructed to schedule a time to move out of on-campus residences between Thursday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Sept. 6.
  • The university requires the use of face coverings in all university buildings and in all university programs taking place in nonuniversity buildings.
  • We continue to encourage physical distancing and good hand hygiene.
  • Many faculty and staff are working remotely.

Depending on the work environment, some units may take additional steps to ensure safety, including floor markings to appropriately space people, routing foot traffic to prevent congestion at exits and entrances, increased cleaning measures and more. Our main focus is to limit the exposure of students, faculty and staff. 

Students who are recommended to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to illness will be asked to do so at home. If this is not possible and the student is in campus housing, NC State has designated a limited number of campus housing units that can be used for quarantine purposes. 

Students are expected to notify their instructors about potentially missing class or assignments. Faculty and staff are expected to self-quarantine or self-isolate at home.

NC State expects all members of the community to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings, no matter the situation, to protect themselves and other members of the Pack. To help with this effort, the following measures are being put in place:

  • In most spaces across campus, furniture will be adjusted or removed to accommodate additional physical spacing. 
  • Signage will be posted across campus to encourage people to maintain physical distance, and to remind all to wear face coverings as required. 
  • Plexiglas shields will be installed in many locations where face-to-face contact is required.
  • Residence hall rooms and apartments are considered living spaces, and students in each of those spaces will be treated as family units. In common spaces of residential facilities, such as lobbies, people are expected to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. 
  • Wolfline is reducing capacity, requiring face coverings and providing hand sanitizer on all buses. 

NC State has also developed COVID-19 community standards, which include information about physical distancing expectations. Failing to follow community standards or any other university policy or guidance related to COVID-19 health and safety may lead to administrative and/or disciplinary action in certain circumstances.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are not aware of any reports suggesting that the coronavirus can be transmitted by food or food packaging. Current evidence shows that the highest risk of coronavirus transmission comes  from being around infected people who are symptomatic (with a lower risk of transmission from being around people who are infected but not symptomatic).

NC State Extension provides helpful information about takeout food safety and grocery shopping safety related to COVID-19.

For up-to-date information, please check the following websites:

Online Learning and Remote Work

NC State has an array of audio and video conferencing solutions for all types of meetings. All services require an active email address in order to host a meeting, although meeting participants are not required to have an NC State affiliation. Learn more about available options here.

As of Monday, Aug. 24, all undergraduate courses are being taught online. Graduate courses are either in person or a hybrid of in-person and online instruction.