N.C. State reverses course, will move students out of dorms as COVID-19 infections rise

Last week, when N.C. State announced it would move all undergraduate courses online in the face of infection clusters on campus, school leaders said they planned to keep residence halls open and allow students to stay on campus.

But with a positive test rate of more than 34%, the school announced Wednesday that it is reversing that decision.

“Over the past few days, our campus community has experienced a quickly rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in both on- and off-campus housing,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a message to the community Wednesday. “We hoped and strived to keep residence halls open and safe to best serve our students. However, the rapid spread and increasing rate of positive cases have made our current situation untenable.”

“NC State students who occupy university housing are instructed to schedule a time to move out of on-campus residences, beginning tomorrow, unless an exception is granted,” Woodson said in the message. “To help ensure physical distancing, move-out will occur over an 11-day period, by appointment, beginning Thursday, Aug. 27, and ending Sunday, Sept. 6.”

Woodson also addressed refunds for housing and a new date for students to withdraw from classes.

From the message:

We’re committed to working with all of our on-campus residents closely in the days ahead to ensure a safe move-out process. University Housing will send more specific information to all on-campus residents this afternoon. Residents of Greek Village will be provided separate information from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

I tremendously appreciate our many staff and faculty who worked so hard to try to make the on-campus experience a possibility for our students. I am also sincerely thankful to the vast majority of our students who joined in and did their part to protect the Pack. Despite these many efforts, the virus continues to swiftly spread across campus. We made today’s decision with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as our top priority.

We also want to give students and their families time to make important decisions around continuing the semester before the new fall census date, which is this Friday, Aug. 28.

Students will receive prorated refunds for unused portions of housing and dining for the fall semester. Students currently in on-campus quarantine or isolation must be cleared by Student Health Services before moving out.

Current residents can apply for waivers to remain in on-campus housing for a number of reasons, but our goal is to reduce the on-campus population significantly. Additional information about the special circumstances housing waiver request process is forthcoming from University Housing.

Last week N.C. State reported 46% of all the students tested on campus through student health services from from Aug. 19 -23 were positive for COVID-19.  Those numbers include testing through student health services, self-reports, local health authorities, and other information sources, according to the school.

This week the school reported a 34.02% positive rate — a total of 116 students testing positive through student health services and 161 through surveillance and other testing. The school reported that 46 students tested positive on Tuesday, August 25 alone.

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