Coronavirus outbreak forces UNC online
An outbreak of Coronavirus cases within 2 weeks of reopening its campus has forced UNC Chapel Hill to move its undergraduate classes online.
UNC Chapel Hill has announced that it will be moving all its undergraduate instruction online as it grapples with a severe COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
Graduate instruction will remain on campus at the moment but the university has said it plans to move all undergraduate classes online by 19 August.
Over 130 Coronavirus cases at UNC within 2 weeks
The University reported a surge in positive COVID-19 cases on campus to over 130 cases in under a fortnight.
The UNC announcement stated: “Just two weeks ago, we began the process of welcoming students back into our residence halls; just one week ago, we held our first day of class.
“We knew this would be a Carolina fall like no other, and with our residence halls at less than 60% capacity and less than 30% of our total classroom seats taught in-person, we certainly began with a very different feel.
“In just the past week (Aug. 10-16), we have seen COVID-19 positivity rate rise from 2.8% to 13.6% at Campus Health. As of this morning, we have tested 954 students and have 177 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.Given the number of positive cases, we are making two important changes to de-densify our campus.”
UNC decides to move undergraduate classes online
The escalation in Coronavirus cases has driven UNC Chapel Hill to move its undergraduate classes to online remote learning within the next 2 days.
The UNC statement read: “Effective Wednesday, Aug. 19, all undergraduate in-person instruction will shift to remote learning. Courses in our graduate, professional and health affairs schools will continue to be taught as they are, or as directed by the schools. Academic advising and academic support services will be available online. Our research enterprise will remain unchanged.
“Due to this announcement as well as the reduction of campus activities, we expect the majority of our current undergraduate residential students to change their residential plans for the fall. We are working to identify additional effective ways to further achieve de-densification of our residential halls and our campus facilities.
“We will, again, open the opportunity for fall 2020 residence hall cancellation requests with no penalty. Carolina Housing will notify our residents with additional information and changes in the coming days.
An IIE study recently found that 84% of US HEIs anticipated there may be an early end to the Fall 2020 semester due to the possibility of a COVID-19 second wave.
While questions remain over whether all undergraduate students, including international students at UNC, will be able to make the transition to fully online learning at such short notice, the University confirmed that provisions will be made for some to remain in campus housing while continuing to pursue their studies remotely.
UNC said: “Residents who have hardships, such as lack of access to reliable internet access), international students or student-athletes will have the option to remain.”