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One week into in-person learning, UNC shifts to virtual classes amid COVID-19 outbreak

One week into in-person learning, UNC shifts to virtual classes amid COVID-19 outbreak
Posted at 2:24 PM, Aug 17, 2020

After making a go at in-person classes, a jump in COVID-19 cases on campus has prompted the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to shift to virtual only for all undergraduate courses, the university announced Monday.

UNC will start distance learning on Wednesday.

The university reported 129 confirmed COVID-19 cases last week, and a jump in its positivity rate from 2.8% to 13.6%. The university said it has tested 954 students with 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine. The university said that most of the infected students have mild symptoms.

The university said graduate, professional and health affairs schools will continue to be taught as they are, or as directed by the schools.

UNC will allow students to cancel residence hall housing without penalty in an effort to depopulate the campus.

“There are no easy answers as the nation navigates through the pandemic,” UNC President Peter Hans said. “At this point, we haven’t received any information that would lead to similar modifications at any of our other universities. Whether at Chapel Hill or another institution, students must continue to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing, as their personal responsibility, particularly in off-campus settings, is critical to the success of this semester and to protect public health.”

The university’s football team is still slated to play this fall, along with other members of the ACC. Two of the five “Power 5” conferences, the Pac-12 and Big 10, have opted to delay their seasons to the spring. The ACC, SEC and Big 12 are still slated to play this fall.

The good news for the state of North Carolina is coronavirus cases are declining. According to New York Times data, the state was averaging 2,000 new cases per day, but that number has fallen to under 1,300. Deaths are still an issue in the Tar Heel state, with an average of 25 people dying per day from coronavirus-related illnesses.