UNC Charlotte assessing options as two N.C. colleges move undergrads to remote learning due to COVID-19

UNC Charlotte moves forward with in-person classes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - UNC Charlotte is assessing options after UNC’s Chapel Hill campus and North Carolina State University moved undergraduates to remote learning due to COVID-19 clusters.

UNC Chapel Hill announced Monday afternoon it would move its undergraduate classes online beginning Wednesday, Aug. 19, in response to outbreaks of COVID-19 clusters in Chapel Hill over the past several days.

NC State University announced they received approval from the UNC System to shift their undergraduate classes online following a series of cluster outbreaks on their campus.

Both universities’ outbreaks appear to be attributable to large off-campus gatherings and not a lack of adherence to on-campus community standards.

UNC Charlotte is extending the ability to cancel housing contracts without penalty until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, by going to the Housing and Residence Life (HRL) website.

Additionally, officials have moved the deadline for payment of fall 2020 charges to Tuesday, September 1. Students, should check their emails for more information about this from Niner Central.

UNC Charlotte is in active discussions with the System Office and public health officials to assess all available options to moving forward.

The chancellor expects to have more information to share by mid-next week.

Previously, UNC Charlotte officials cited guidance from the UNC System, and said they would proceed as planned with on-campus instruction.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber says she has been very clear in her conversations with the UNC System that the health and safety of the UNC Charlotte campus community is paramount.

Chancellor Gaber says she has heard from many campus community members about a desire to move to all online instruction, while many others have reached out to express excitement about in-person campus life and classes.

“Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer that will meet everyone’s needs,” Gaber said.

UNC Charlotte officials say they are in close contact with local public health officials and are continually assessing protocols to make any necessary changes to further protect the health and safety of campus.

Officials say they have put in place extraordinary health and sanitation measures to provide a safe on-campus housing experience, but recognize some students and families may be concerned about returning to on-campus living.

Students who have canceled the housing between July 16 and Monday will receive a credit for cancellation penalties. Students must contact HRL to void their contract. Not moving in is not sufficient notification.

For students who choose to live in residence halls this fall, distancing measures will be in place, including reducing room occupancy, to further achieve de-densification in the buildings.

Officials say UNC Charlotte is prepared to care for any on-campus student who becomes ill. They have designated quarantine and isolation space identified and have plans in place to deliver food and other necessities to affected students.

University leaders say large social gatherings (more than 25 people outside and 10 people inside) are strictly prohibited under the governor’s executive order.

Those found to be in violation of this order will be held accountable under the Code of Student Responsibility and could be subject to further legal action as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

“Please do not risk your health and the health of Niner Nation by hosting or attending large events,” the message on the university’s website read.

This fall, the University will launch Niner Health Check, an online daily assessment to help keep Niner Nation safe. Students will receive a daily email with a link, instructing you to complete a short survey about your health to ensure it is safe to come to campus.

Students will begin receiving emails daily with a link to the Niner Health Check on Monday, Aug. 31.

A confidential survey will ask if students have been around anyone with COVID-19, are undergoing testing for COVID-19 or if students have any symptoms of the virus. Depending on answers, students will be encouraged to stay home, asked to seek testing or cleared to come to campus.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 7, the start of classes, students will also receive a daily text reminder to complete the survey.

The university continues to monitor this situation closely. Officials remain in discussions with the UNC System and public health officials regarding local conditions.

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