COVID-19, Education, Higher Ed, News

UNC schools outline campus return plans

Several campuses in the UNC system are revealing their plans for students to return to school, though they are light on detail and tentative.

Both UNC-Greensboro and N.C. A&T said Monday that they plan to welcome students back to campus in August for the fall semester. Both schools will eliminate the traditional fall break.

UNCG Chancellor Frank Gilliam.

“This plan reduces the need for people to leave campus, disperse widely, and then return in the middle of the semester,” UNCG Chancellor Frank Gilliam  told students in a message Monday. Limiting movement is key for managing virus spread. It also enables us to maintain the necessary instructional days required to meet our academic standards and best serve our students.”

Both campuses also plan to eliminate Reading Day, hold final exams online and end their fall semester at Thanksgiving. They are tentatively scheduling in-person commencement ceremonies for December but both schools say that and many of the details of the fall calendar will depend on developments with the COVID-19 virus, which health experts say will likely have new spikes during the traditional cold and flu season.

“While we will be prepared to resume in-person instruction this fall, we are taking important steps to significantly reduce the number of students on campus in late November and December, to help manage community spread of infection,” said N.C. A&T Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Beryl C. McEwen in a message to the campus community. “As the largest historically black university in the nation, we appreciate the special challenge that we face to protect our sizable student body, and we will be working throughout the summer to make sure we are ready.”

The UNC Board of Governors meets Wednesday. When and how each of the campuses may return to full-time in-person instruction will be discussed.

Some higher education experts have warned that any return to normal operations for the fall semester is too soon and that universities are largely ill-equipped to provide the kind of social distancing necessary to prevent further community spread of the virus.

“In addition to the calendar changes, we are currently assessing all of the other implications of COVID-19 on our operations,” Gilliam told students in his message. “We will maintain maximum flexibility in our planning, knowing that conditions may evolve over the summer.”

One Comment

  1. Michelle Armstrong

    May 25, 2020 at 1:41 am

    As a concerned parent I don’t see how it will be in the best care of students by opening in the fall. To return in the fall would be like jumping into fire with students coming from all over the world. It will be so much time wasted if all the students come back and move in all their belongings to discover there is an outbreak on campus and everyone has to pack up and leave the campus. The chance of this happening is great because fall is peak season for the flu and now on top of the Corona Virus. I know students want to be around on the campus and all however, we want them to live. When i think about the large amounts of students on the campus it is frightening. Who will govern the logistics of social distancing? Housing? Classroom sanitation before and after each class? My suggestion to all of this is to work on what you have now with the technology of online classroom learning. Because ultimately that is what will happen if you should have to send students right back home. Ride this semester out and see how the Covid data will present. Then prepare to move students in for Spring semester. I don’t think the risk of students getting infected is worth the push. Will all students be tested prior to moving onto campus? Students do go home from time to time will they be tested upon returning to campus? Will they be tested periodically? It’s just to many questions that we will not have a chance to receive answers to. I also think you could give students an option to take online classes or to return to class.

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