UNC-Chapel Hill Switches to Remote Learning After 135 Test Positive for COVID-19

Just a week into the fall semester, UNC-Chapel Hill has reversed course from in-person learning to remote learning, following a string of positive COVID tests.

UNC Chapel Hill

Image via Getty/The Washington Post

UNC Chapel Hill

On Monday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that they would be transitioning from in-person classes to virtual classes, effective Aug. 19, after reporting 135 new positive COVID-19 cases just a week into the fall semester.

Those 135 positive tests (composed of 130 students and five employees) came about as a result of four clusters, according to NBC News. Note that, in this case, a "cluster" references five or more cases coming from a single residential hall/dwelling. The most recent one rose up on Sunday, with those involved being subsequently isolated/quarantined.

“After consultation with state and local health officials, #UNC’s infectious disease experts and the UNC system, Carolina is making two changes to de-densify campus,” the school said on Twitter. “On Wednesday, Aug. 19, all undergraduate instruction will shift to remote learning.” Feel free to steal that de-densify line.

The 135 positive tests were registered between August 10-16. In that same week, the school recorded a test positivity rate for the disease at 10.6 percent, which is higher than the state average of 7.5 percent. 

University officials put out a statement on the growing issue, saying: “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.”

Monday's campus-closing development led to the university's powers-that-be being lambasted by their guinea pigs students. As an example, the student newspaper, the Daily Tarheel, called out UNC's leadership with an op-ed titled "We All Saw This Coming." That op-ed called the goings-on a "complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation" which they summed up as a "clusterfuck." You can see that they said that in the...oh, looks like they can swear in their headlines:

Specifically called out in the article were Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Bob Blouin. 

Speaking of those two they were quoted, per Mediaite, on the situation that led to the Plan B the school's now going with. 

“As much as we believe we have worked diligently to help create a healthy and safe campus living and learning environment, we believe the current data presents an untenable situation,” they said. “As we have always said, the health and safety of our campus community is paramount, and we will continue to modify and adapt our plan when necessary.”

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