UNC Reverses Course, Goes all Online

Old Well, UNC-Chapel Hill

CORONAVIRUS

From Staff Reports

Barely a week after the reopening of campus and following reports that 130 students already had tested positive for COVID-19, UNC announced Monday that it was moving all classes online starting Wednesday.

“Since launching the Roadmap for Fall 2020, we have emphasized that if we were faced with the need to change plans — take an off-ramp — we would not hesitate to do so, but we have not taken this decision lightly,” UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Bob Blouin said in a news release. “We have made it in consultation with state and local health officials, Carolina’s infectious disease experts, and the UNC System.”

According to the two officials, 954 students have been tested and 177 are in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus.

“So far, we have been fortunate that most students who have tested positive have demonstrated mild symptoms,” Guskiewicz and Blouin said.

They added that UNC expects more students will want to move off campus with the switch to remote learning, but students without reliable Internet service, international students, student-athletes and those with other needs can remain on campus, as can graduate, professional and health affairs students who can continue to take in-person classes.

The decision comes in the wake of a number of calls for UNC to fully go to remote learning, including a letter from Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart, and concerns expressed by the mayors of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.

Many local residents had been concerned about the spread of the virus once students returned to campus. Orange County’s number of cases had gone down consistently since early June, but the last week — since students arrived — has seen a significant spike in the numbers.

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