From Staff Reports
UNC has decided to push back the start of in-person undergraduate classes for an additional three weeks because of what Carolina Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz called “record COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Carolina and around the country.”
The spring semester, already delayed, will still begin on Jan. 19, but those undergraduate classes will be help remotely until Feb. 8. Students will be allowed to move into campus residence halls beginning Jan. 13 as planned, but will have the option to return or delay their move-in date up until Feb. 7.
Faculty who will resume in-person instruction next month should plan to return to campus on Feb. 8, the chancellor said. All other faculty and staff will be expected to work with their department heads and supervisors to clarify their work locations and schedules.
“We are making these changes with the health of our campus and the community in mind,” wrote Guskiewicz in an open letter to the Carolina community. “We have carefully analyzed the data and consulted with our campus public health and infectious disease experts, the chair of the faculty, the chair of the Employee Forum, the student body president, UNC Health, county health officials and the UNC System to inform these decisions.”
The decision to delay, Guskiewicz added, was designed to give students and parents “maximum flexibility as we head into the spring semester under the current circumstances.”
The university began the fall semester with in-person classes but moved to remote learning after 130 students tested positive for the coronavirus during the first week of classes in a number of outbreaks. The Orange County Health Department had previously recommended that UNC begin the school year with only virtual classes.
For students who are returning to the university, asymptomatic PCR testing will be required twice a week for either those taking classes in-person, living in a residence hall, living in Granville Towers or living in a space with more than ten total residents.
Students living elsewhere in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community will also be required to get tested once a week, even when solely enrolled in remote classes. Asymptomatic testing for graduate, professional and post-doctoral students accessing resources or teaching on campus will also be a weekly requirement.