COVID-19 campus crisis takes emotional, financial toll on UNC-CH international students

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – On Tuesday afternoon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill confirmed their eleventh cluster of COVID-19 cases this semester at Koury residential hall on-campus.

Meanwhile, UNC students continue to scramble to leave campus as the university has asked students to be out of the dorms by Aug. 30 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

“Its extremely hectic with moving and classes going,” said Max Lewin, a sophomore who moved out of Morrison Hall.

But while some international students scramble to leave, international students like Tam Le tell CBS 17 it is just as stressful for students staying on campus as well.

“I thought that we would last longer than a week,” Le said. “Most of my friends on campus moved out, so right now I just feel lost.”

She said all of her suitemates are leaving and it has become lonely in her dorm.

Le lives in Hinton James, where there are currently 21 cases of COVID-19.

The international student from Vietnam said she would like to move off campus, but she cannot find an affordable apartment.                 

With the high number of cases at Hinton James, she said she is concerned for her safety.

“I think I mostly feel enraged, because I feel like I did nothing wrong and I’m so affected by the situation,” Le said.

UNC officials said they will be working with the Orange County Health Department to make sure the campus is safe for those who have to stay.

For instance, some students may be moved to different rooms or residence halls to help spread out those living on campus.

The University said International Student and Scholar Services is also offering support to students who need it through this transition.

However, Le said she would like to see the University do more, like cut back on tuition costs.

“I feel like I’m not receiving the quality of education and living that I expected to with the same amount of tuition,” Le said. “So I feel like reducing the tuition would really be like a burden off of our shoulders.”

UNC officials said that they do not plan to change tuition for the fall semester, regardless of the instruction format.

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