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UNC-Chapel Hill suspends in-person undergrad classes after multiple coronavirus clusters

UNC-Chapel Hill suspends in-person undergrad classes after multiple coronavirus clusters

The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill on Monday said it is suspending in-person undergraduate classes after multiple coronavirus clusters were reported since the school welcomed students back to campus a couple of weeks ago.

All undergraduate in-person instruction will shift to remote learning as of Wednesday, the school announced

The school said the COVID-19 positivity rate rose from 2.8 percent to 13.6 percent at Campus Health in the past week and that there were 177 students in isolation and 349 in quarantine both on and off campus as of Monday morning.

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The notice of the closure came one day after the university reported its fourth cluster of COVID-19 cases in Hinton James residence hall. All of the clusters have been reported at student residences, including three residence halls and one off-campus fraternity residence.

A “cluster” is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more cases that are deemed close proximity in location. 

The university said it will again open requests for fall 2020 resident hall cancellations with no penalties. 

“There are no easy answers as the nation navigates through the pandemic. At this point, we haven’t received any information that would lead to similar modifications at any of our other universities,” UNC President Peter Hans said in a statement. 

“Whether at Chapel Hill or another institution, students must continue to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing, as their personal responsibility, particularly in off-campus settings, is critical to the success of this semester and to protect public health,” Hans added. 

Courses at UNC-Chapel Hill’s graduate, professional and health affairs school will continue to be taught as they are or as directed by the schools, according to the announcement.