UNC encouraging students to get tested for coronavirus before heading home for break

COVID-19 and schools

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — As students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prepare and make sure they are ready for finals, the University is also preparing.

It’s making sure they can handle the last minute rush of COVID-19 tests before the fall semester ends.

“What we are doing is extending our hours in the student union until 7 p.m. each night,” said Ken Pittman, UNC’s Executive Director of Campus Health.

According to the university, Campus Health will extend its hours at the Carolina Union for free asymptomatic testing starting next week.

“We are asking those students to time their testing within a day or two before they leave campus,” mentioned Pittman.

Students are expected to get test results within one to two days.

“So, I’m probably going to get tested two or three days before I go back home for Thanksgiving just to make sure I’m not putting my family at risk,” said Drew Wheat, a senior at UNC.

However, the school’s biggest concern is not just making sure students get tested, but what happens when they go home.

“Our semester is going to end prior to Thanksgiving. I think all of us can agree that there are some students who are not going to return home and spend 49 days with their parents,” Pittman stated.

“It’s kind of been a stressor to be here. Going home is like going somewhere we are going to be contained. We are with our families and we will be there for a substantial amount of time,” said Ben Boatwright, UNC law student.

Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper announced NCDHHS is sending a total of 74,470 federally-funded rapid antigen tests to public and private colleges and universities across North Carolina.

This also includes historically black colleges and universities. This is an effort to test students before they travel home or celebrate the holidays with people who live outside their household.

Pittman said while the school will continue to test, it also wants students to stay within their family bubbles and wear masks around those who are at risk in hopes of eliminating a potential spread when they come back.

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