KEY POINTS

  • UNC-Chapel Hill saw 135 COVID-19 positive cases after only the first week of school
  • The school decided to move undergraduate classes online 
  • Health affairs courses as well as professional and graduate courses will continue as before

The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill announced the moving of all undergraduate classes online following reports of 135 coronavirus cases on campus.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor, Kevin Guskiewicz said the shift goes into effect Wednesday. University officials arrived at the decision after 135 new cases of COVID-19 were discovered on campus after the school reopened for a week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among those tested positive, 130 were students and five were university employees. 

They also requested people planning to leave the campus to quickly do so to slow the spread of the virus. State and local health officials agreed with the decision of the university.

UNC-Chapel Hill moves classes online UNC-Chapel Hill moves classes online Photo: Wokandapix - Pixabay

Reacting to the decision, Carey Jefferson, a parent of a student at the UNC, said the school should never have opened in the first place. "I mean, I think this was the experiment and it totally failed and I don't think it's worth trying again until there's better control," Jefferson said.

UNC freshman student Madeline Brooks said she felt safer with the school going online, although she expressed some disappointment at not being able to live in a dorm.

The announcement covered all in-person undergraduate classes at the university. Health affairs courses as well as professional and graduate courses will continue as before, until otherwise directed by the school, NBC News reported.

The university chancellor said they expect a huge portion of the undergraduate population to change their places of residence for the remainder of the academic semester. "Residents who have hardships (such as lack of access to reliable internet access), international students, or student-athletes will have the option to remain," Guskiewicz said.

The university also helped one of its students move to a hotel nearby under a school-sponsored quarantine. The student said the reason was that there was not enough quarantine space on campus because of the rising coronavirus cases. As of Monday, health officials revealed there were 349 UNC students in quarantine.

"This has been one of the most, if not the most, trying time of my professional career and certainly not what we were hoping for this fall semester," the chancellor said.

Some UNC students expressed dismay that the school made the announcement only a couple of hours before the tuition cancellation deadline. As of Monday night, the university did not make any announcement concerning the change of the deadline date.