UNC System interim president expects universities to reopen for fall semester

UNC System interim president expects universities to reopen for fall semester
The interim president of the UNC System said Wednesday he expects schools to reopen for the fall 2020 semester. (Source: UNC System)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The interim president of the UNC System said Wednesday he expects schools to reopen for the fall 2020 semester.

University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper issued a statement saying data appears to show the spread of COVID-19 is being minimized.

“Our institutions have done a remarkable job serving their students during this time of crisis. Our speedy adaptation to remote teaching and learning was a necessary and invaluable step to preserve the continuity of our students’ academic pursuits while protecting health and safety,” Roper said.

But the president acknowledged the difficulties of digital learning and that it can not take the place of in-person learning.

“The majority of our faculty and students need access to our libraries, labs, classrooms, and medical and agriculture facilities to fully engage with their research, teaching, learning, and service work,” he said.

Roper went on to say he expects the system’s campuses to be open for the fall semester.

“Each and every step the UNC System takes will continue to prioritize health and safety,” Roper said. “Until a vaccine is developed, many members of our community may not be able to risk teaching or attending in-person classes.”

Chancellors will have the ability to make decisions that best fit their institutions when it comes to the fight against the virus.

“As examples, some institutions might consider staggered or shortened academic calendars, while others may take action to reduce student density in campus housing and classrooms. Our plans will ensure that students and parents have the tools they need to stay fully engaged with their home institution, safely and with confidence,” Roper said.

The president said efforts made in March to mitigate the pandemic’s threat have been successful.

“The continued success of our effort now depends on approaching our next moves forward with caution, optimism, and precision,” he said.

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