COVID-19 Concerns Prompt UNC Faculty to Tell Students to Stay Home
“We need to stay safe from Covid-19 by staying at home – and we need you to stay home in order to protect yourselves and your fellow students, your teachers, the many workers who serve you on campus…”
CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — Thirty tenured faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) published an open letter to undergraduate students on Friday asking them to not attend in-person classes so they will not be infected with the coronavirus.
“We need to stay safe from Covid-19 by staying at home – and we need you to stay home in order to protect yourselves and your fellow students, your teachers, the many workers who serve you on campus, the residents of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and your own family members and loved ones,” the faculty members said in a letter that was published by the Charlotte Observer.
In May, UNC-CH said it would begin the 2020-2021 academic year on August 10, reports Newsweek. The school said it would offer face-to-face classes, online classes or a hybrid of the two models, depending on a student’s preference.
The faculty members’ letter said that this plan was based on a faulty assumption about the pandemic… “that a ‘first’ viral wave in spring would be followed only by a (hopefully) smaller ‘second’ wave in fall and winter. Now the country’s oldest public university must not repeat the tragic errors of this summer by reopening too quickly and completely.”
UNC-CH issued a statement in response to the letter, saying that it is as “flexible as guidance allows for those who need to teach, work or learn away from campus,” reports Inside Higher Ed.
In July, many states experienced a significant increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus… an indication that the first wave of infections has not passed. More than 2,000 North Carolinians and more than 156,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 so far.
Other American college campuses that opened in June and July have experienced spikes in infections due to fraternity parties, including Greek organizations at the University of California at Berkeley and Ole Miss.
One high school in Indiana that was open for only two days last week was forced to close its doors and move all of its students to distance learning for at least a week due to staff members testing positive for the virus, reports the New York Times.
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