Frequently Asked Questions

Get guidance and information from NC State regarding the university's response to the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

This information is subject to change. Last updated: July 7, 2020.

Campus Operations

The university is open with minimal on-campus operations, which includes moving to fully online courses, requiring remote or alternative work arrangements for the majority of employees and closing or significantly limiting core service facilities throughout the summer. Changes to campus operations and plans for the fall are regularly updated on our Protecting the Pack website.

Yes. NC State plans to have students, staff and faculty back on campus, courses resuming, residence and dining halls open, and operations returning to as close to normal as possible in the fall. We continue to work on plans around safely reopening, and we will share those plans with the community as soon as they are finalized.

We are committed to creating solutions that keep the NC State community safe and strong, protect high-risk members of our Pack and best serve our students. More information about campus reactivation is regularly updated on our Protecting the Pack website.

Consistent with federal, state and UNC System direction, and following guidance from the CDC and other regulatory 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.

These guidelines will be updated as the university progresses through the summer and fall. It is critical that each member of the Pack do their part to protect and promote the health and safety of themselves and the NC State community.

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. No decisions have been made yet on any adjustments to schedules or formats.

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 students 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 our Protecting the Pack website.

NC State is reducing occupancy in all residence halls and Greek Village except apartments. The university has also converted some double rooms to singles in each residence hall to create rooms that can be used by students with preexisting health conditions. The deadline to request to be considered for such a single room has passed.

While residents are completing the move-in process, they will be asked to follow physical distancing guidelines. Volunteers will manage traffic around buildings and the flow of students and moving assistants throughout the process. New students arriving on campus will need to pick up their student IDs at the Wolfpack One Card Office, located at the Talley Student Union, before they will be granted building access. For more information, visit the Housing website. For more information about move-in and living in Greek Village, please visit the Fraternity and Sorority Life website.

If the state lifts restrictions for gyms and fitness centers as part of North Carolina’s reopening plan, the Carmichael Complex anticipates reopening Monday, July 20. 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 moving throughout Carmichael.
  • 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 and occupancy will return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • Some facility spaces will remain unavailable when we open in July. 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 where physical distancing is not possible. The libraries 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, and university affiliates with a Wolfpack One Card, including Centennial Campus partners.
  • Seating density will be reduced to accommodate social 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.

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.

The UNC System has directed that all system campuses will have on-campus classes this fall, and would need to provide guidance otherwise. That said, we do have authority over many of our operations and understand that having established thresholds will be important for making decisions about community health. We have a team that is working on this now, and will have plans in place before the start of the semester.

Thresholds will be based on a variety of factors, including public health information, executive orders by the governor, UNC System guidelines and other relevant guidance. Other factors might include the number of instructors unable to teach, the number of students unable to attend classes, infection rates in residence halls and the number of employees not available to perform their work.

Testing and Contact Tracing

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

We will not be conducting campus-wide testing, nor will we be conducting routine temperature checks. We are testing students presenting ill in Student Health Services and students and staff 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 infectious with COVID-19 may be symptomatic and not have a fever.

Student Health Services can perform viral testing of students seen and evaluated in SHS who are ill, and also 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 these categories. 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 could test only 300 to 400 people per day. With the size of our campus population, testing could not be completed at anywhere near the level 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. 

We need to reiterate the importance of personal responsibility around best health care practices. Follow CDC guidelines. Wear masks, wash hands often, and do not go to class or work if you have 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 track cases and provide additional resources and support:

For Students For Faculty and Staff

This procedure is voluntary, and the information is confidential. The information on the form 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. Please fill out the relevant form to self-report:

For Students For Faculty and Staff

Collecting this information helps us understand and track the impact of COVID-19 on our campus, and allows us to follow up on any information that might affect the safety of faculty, staff, and students 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 they 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 are not.

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 identified a limited number of campus housing units. Learn more about our student and employee contact tracing programs.

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 professors as soon as possible as well as NC State Absence Verification. 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 in 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 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. Likewise for faculty and staff, wearing face coverings is a community standard. 

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

Employees not wearing masks as required will be asked to put one on, and if they do not, 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 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 in your breath, protecting others from you. A face shield offers a barrier, but is open 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 3 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. 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 masks or cloth face coverings is recommended in public settings where other social 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 by reducing the opportunities for close contact between people. Strategies include using conference calls and video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings, avoiding unnecessary travel and reinforcing handwashing and other common-sense precautions.

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, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. 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 track cases and provide additional resources and support:

For Students For Faculty and Staff

Many of the policies and practices we’re putting in place are designed to help protect all members of the Pack. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing face coverings, maintaining appropriate physical distances, washing your hands often, and keeping your work area clean.

We are also advising on practices such as remote working and rotating schedules where appropriate.

The university is developing a centralized process for managing special considerations or circumstances from faculty and staff (including mandatory onsite employees who have concerns). This process will enable faculty, staff and students who deem themselves to be high risk and/or have concerns about working on-site to submit a special considerations request which would then be evaluated. We plan to have this available by the middle of July.

NC State has taken extensive measures to help prevent the spread on campus. All classes are being taught online during the summer of 2020, and most faculty and staff continue to work remotely. The university requires the use of face coverings in all university buildings and in all university programs taking place in nonuniversity buildings. As we bring employees back to campus, we continue to encourage physical distancing and good hand hygiene.

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 and to know if or when there is a confirmed case of infection on campus. If there is a case, we will take measures to prevent the virus from spreading to others. 

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 identified 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 their 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 where required. 
  • Plexiglass shields will be installed in many locations where face-to-face contact is required.
  • Residence hall rooms and apartments are considered living space and those students will be treated as family units. In common spaces, like lobbies, of residential facilities, 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. 

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 that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. Current evidence shows the biggest risk of transmission of COVID-19 is being around individuals 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 around takeout food safety and grocery shopping safety related to COVID-19.

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.

Staff are continuing to work hard to determine the best approach for the 5,000+ course sections this fall. We will open registration for first-year students on July 13. On July 20, we will open registration for continuing students.