UNC Libraries

Six Feet Apart

As the number of coronavirus cases began rising in North Carolina in March 2020, UNC-Chapel Hill administrators sent students home and continued instruction online. But the University welcomed students back to campus in fall 2020. By that point, many students, faculty, and staff had grown accustomed to wearing masks, washing hands, using sanitizing solutions, monitoring body temperature, and undergoing COVID tests. Despite encouragement to physically distance, student outbreaks of COVID-19 sent classes back online for the remainder of the school year. With the availability of the vacccine in 2021, the campus reopened in August with community safety standards such as vaccination, frequent testing, mask wearing, and physical distancing encouraged. Shown here are a few items that helped the campus community and beyond navigate learning, working, and gathering during the pandemic.

Carolina Together Kit, CK.1971

Carolina Together Care Kit, August 2021

This kit was distributed to UNC-Chapel Hill employees in the late summer of 2021 in preparation for their return to campus. The contents include two navy blue knit masks with "Carolina" embroidered in blue, a tube of "Real Time" hand sanitizer, a Community Standards document, three disposable masks, a digital thermometer, and a white plastic bag.

Gift of University Libraries
North Carolina Collection Gallery

Hand made face masks, CK.1978

Face masks by Barbara Tysinger, 2020

A shortage of personal protective equipment early in the pandemic sparked Wilson Special Collections Library staff member Barbara Tysinger to sew cloth for use by her colleagues and others. These masks are a sample of the several hundred she created and distributed, both individually and as a member of the North Carolina Face Mask Warriors Facebook group. The masks were given as gifts, although some people offered homemade goodies or veggies from their garden in exchange for them.

Tysinger created the mask with the plastic window for an audiologist to wear while working with patients. She then designed a similar mask for another friend who works in child protective services. Being able to see the agent's face eased the fears of frightened children.  

Tysinger says that making the masks kept her sane and gave her the feeling that she was doing something useful.

Gift of Barbara Tysinger
North Carolina Collection Gallery

Culp, Inc. face masks

Culp, Inc. face masks, 2020

The High Point firm run by Robert G. "Iv" Culp IV, UNC Class of 1993, is one of many North Carolina companies that stepped up to address the need for health care products at the beginning of the pandemic. Culp, Inc. pivoted from upholstery production to the fabrication of three-layer cotton masks and disposable coverings for hospital beds. Manufacturing essential protective equipment helped the business to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Gift of Culp, Inc.
North Carolina Collection Gallery

Face mask, CK.1966.1

Face shield, March 2020

UNC-Chapel Hill medical students, Arts and Sciences faculty members, staff of the Be A Maker Network of Makerspaces, Innovate Carolina, offsite contractors, and engineering partners at North Carolina State and Duke Universities collaborated to quickly design and fabricate thousands of face shields in March 2020. The shields were distributed to health care workers to address the personal protective equipment shortage at the beginning of the pandemic.

Read more in "There's work to be done."

Gift of BeAM@Carolina
North Carolina Collection Gallery

"Kenan Cutout" of UNC Librarian Elaine Westbrooks, CK.1987

"Kenan Cutout" of University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks, Fall 2020

When the University announced that the fall sports season would open without fans at home events, the Athletics Department acted quickly to fill empty seats at Kenan Stadium.  It encouraged Carolina football fans to buy a cardboard cutout of themselves to be placed in the stadium. Funds raised from this initiative helped support Carolina‚Äôs varsity programs and student athletes. This is a copy of the cutout the Library placed in the stadium for the fall 2020 season.

Read more about this initiative.

Gift of University Libraries
North Carolina Collection Gallery