UPDATE: Campus remains closed; water use now restricted to essential needs

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Earlier this afternoon, officials from the Orange County Health Department and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority announced that OWASA water is now safe to drink and use, but requested local residents including the campus community to limit use to only essential purposes because water supplies remain below normal levels. The county’s announcement is posted here.

Given the volume of the University’s water use, officials believe it will take at least 18 hours for Carolina’s operations to be fully functional. UNC-Chapel Hill will remain closed (Condition 3) until the OWASA water system’s operating status and capacity approaches more normal levels. Condition 3 status will remain in effect until further notice. Only mandatory employees report to or remain at work.  All other activities remain temporarily suspended.

The campus community can expect another update about the timing of any operational status change early on Sunday afternoon. The priority is to announce plans for Monday classes and offices as soon as possible to give students, faculty and staff as much time as possible to plan accordingly.

The first priority as OWASA’s do not drink order was lifted was for UNC Hospitals and clinics to resume normal operations this afternoon.

Housing officials encourage residential students to delay returning to campus in order to assist with the water conservation efforts. Those who are on campus in residence halls will receive specific water use instructions.

The decision to move the men’s basketball game with Notre Dame to Greensboro on Sunday was necessary since the University has been in and remains in Condition 3. The influx of 20,000-plus fans in the Smith Center also would have further taxed a water system that is not fully functional. (Refer to goheels.com for details.)

Adverse Weather and Emergency Event Policy and General Background

Employees are reminded of the University’s Adverse Weather and Emergency Event Policy. Unless a change in operational status is announced, the University always operates on a regular schedule. UNC-Chapel Hill may activate three adverse weather or emergency event operating conditions:

  • Condition 1 – Reduced Operations (University is open)
  • Condition 2 – Suspended Operations (University is open only for mandatory operations; classes cancelled)
  • Condition 3 – Closure (classes are cancelled; offices and facilities are closed)

Please visit “Adverse Weather’s Impact on University Operations:  A Summary,” posted on the Alert Carolina and Office of Human Resources websites to view a chart describing the three conditions in greater detail along with a summary explaining the key factors in the decision-making process for adverse weather or emergency events such as the current water emergency.

Safety is the number one priority when making decisions about campus operations. Carolina is committed to announcing any decision about operational changes promptly to provide our community with as much lead time as possible to plan travel to and from campus.

Information Sources

When the University’s operating status changes, campus communications will include:

  • An email, website post and, if conditions warrant, a text message from Alert Carolina, alertcarolina.unc.edu. You must be signed up to receive an Alert Carolina text message.
  • Posts on the University’s homepage, www.unc.edu, amplified via official social media accounts including @UNC, @Alert_UNCCH (for parents, family, Chapel Hill residents and friends) and @UNC_HR on Twitter.
  • Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line: (919) 843-1234. You may call this number to hear recorded announcements about campus operations.
  • UNC Transportation and Parking for information including parking lot conditions and the status of Point-to-Point shuttle operations. Refer to move.unc.edu.
  • Area news media websites.
  • Chapel Hill Transit also posts adverse weather or emergency event news and routes and schedules. Refer to http://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/news-events/emergency/adverse-weather-updates