One Week Into Semester, UNC Chapel Hill Switches to Fully Online (Updated)


One week into the semester, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill administration reversed its decision to open its campus for teaching and housing, and moved all instruction online, owing to its inability to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus among the student population.

The university says that 954 students had been tested as of this morning, with 177 students testing positive for COVID-19. Nearly 350 other students had been quarantined because of possible exposure to it. The school has about 20,000 undergraduates and 10,000 graduate students.

[Still of recent video of UNC Chapel Hill students socializing without masks or distancing. From the News & Observer.]

The Washington Post reports: “The remote-teaching order for undergraduate classes will take effect Wednesday, and the university will take steps to allow students to leave campus housing without financial penalty if they wish.”

More details here and here.

UNC Chapel Hill will likely not be the only university to switch to remote instruction and send students home over the coming month.

UPDATE: A colleague of mine at the University of South Carolina notes that when UNC Chapel Hill’s fall 2020 term began last week, the percentage of tested students with positive results for the coronavirus was less than 3%. The corresponding rate at the University of South Carolina, where classes begin later this week, is 3.9%.

UPDATE (8/18/20): The University of Notre Dame announces: “in-person classes for the University’s nearly 12,000 students are suspended, effective Wednesday, replaced by remote instruction only for the next two weeks because positive rates for the coronavirus continue to climb.” (via Curtis Franks)

UPDATE (8/31/20): Notre Dame will resume in-person teaching (via Curtis Franks).

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Matt
Matt
8 months ago

Imagine the time and money and potentially lives saved had they simply planned for online-only (at least for their undergrads) from the beginning. If only someone could have predicted this.

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A Philosopher
A Philosopher
Reply to  Matt
8 months ago

Can we bring back the likes temporarily, if only so that Matt’s comment can rack up the several hundred likes it deserves?Report

liker
liker
Reply to  A Philosopher
8 months ago

likeReport

Jamie Dreier
Jamie Dreier
8 months ago

They’ve only tested 954 students? Was that the plan?
And a week ago when less than 3% had tested positive, how many had they tested then?Report

Gabriella
Gabriella
Reply to  Jamie Dreier
8 months ago

This was indeed the plan. They intended to only test students who were symptomatic or who had close contact (defined in a very — overly — strict manner) with someone who tested positive. They had tested ~500 students between 7/20 and 8/9 (and between February and 7/20 they’d tested a little over 1,000 students). Many institutions chose to test all students prior to/at time of their arrival on campus; UNC-CH did not. UNC-CH’s explanation for why they did not do this was that testing all students prior to their arriving on campus would give a false sense of security among students who tested negative. Report

Midwest
Midwest
8 months ago

Notre Dame has a much higher positivity rate. Moreover, they don’t test individuals who have been in close contact with individuals tested positive (only quarantine), so numbers may be significantly higher.
See the official numbers here:

https://here.nd.edu/our-approach/dashboard/Report

Derek Bowman
Derek Bowman
Reply to  Midwest
8 months ago

If this local news reporting is accurate, they’re not doing a very good job testing symptomatic individuals either. https://wsbt.com/news/operation-education/notre-dame-students-share-coronavirus-testing-struggles

I wonder which Aristotelian virtue this represents. Report

Curtis Franks
Curtis Franks
Reply to  Midwest
8 months ago

Notre Dame is moving undergraduate instruction on-line immediately, for at least two weeks.
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