Some UNC Charlotte students concerned about plan to open year with in-person learning

UNC Charlotte plans to have on-campus learning

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - UNC Charlotte is doubling down on its decision to hold in-person classes this fall, even as UNC-Chapel Hill makes the switch to virtual learning.

Coronavirus outbreaks on the Chapel Hill campus led to the change there. Some students in Charlotte are wishing UNC Charlotte would be proactive and move classes online before school reopens.

On Sept. 7 classes will start in a hybrid format, meaning some classes are offered online and others are in-person.

Almost 29,000 students are currently enrolled.

“We can’t prevent it from spreading across our campus,” student Dick Beekman said. “I see this as a futile exercise as trying to force something that can’t be forced and in the process we’ll be endangering students, faculty and staff members across our campus.”

The Student Government Association sent a letter urging administration to follow UNC- Chapel Hill in the switch to complete virtual learning. The group also asked for a meeting with administration.

“Finances seem to be overpowering common sense at this point,” Beekman said.

UNC Charlotte sent a Niner Notice to students Monday night telling them they would continue with on-campus learning.

A statement from the administration reads in part:

“We have taken extraordinary steps to provide robust health and safety protocols in our classrooms, in campus buildings and in residence halls. We will allow students to cancel their on-campus housing contract for the upcoming semester without penalty.”

“In my eyes at least very unfair to a lot of people,” student Drew Pescaro said.

Pescaro said his classes are all online, but this is affecting students like his younger brother Alec living on campus.

Many remember him as a survivor of the deadly campus shooting last year. He says in some ways this opens old wounds.

“As someone who has spent a month hospitalized, just even the smallest possibility of having to go back to a hospital, even though those percentages are small, I want to mitigate any and all chances of that being possible,” Pescaro said.

He says it’s better to get ready for online learning now, because he believes after a few weeks the school will inevitably switch to it as coronavirus spreads.

“You can prepare for it rather than scramble to make that transition from in person to online,” he said.

According to UNC Charlotte, as of Monday, UNC Charlotte had more than 5,000 students assigned in residence halls. This means the halls are at 87% occupancy. The school is also still on track to enroll 4,000 freshmen which would be the largest class in University history.

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