‘Health comes before money’: UNC student battling COVID-19 asks universities to put students’ health first

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, NC — The number of COVID-19 cases at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill continues to climb even after most of the students have left campus.

On Monday, the University’s dashboard showed there were 75 new cases reported among students and staff from Friday through Sunday. This brings the total number of coronavirus cases at UNC to 1,100 since the pandemic started.

As of Friday, 119 students are in isolation on campus and 109 students are in quarantine housing.

Meanwhile, hundreds of other students are recovering from COVID-19 at home after they contracted the virus at UNC-Chapel Hill.

UNC freshman Jasmine Baker said she caught the virus while staying at Granville Towers, a private dorm off-campus.

“I had one of the worst headaches I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Baker said. “It was blinding, I didn’t get out of bed all day. I couldn’t move it was just so painful.”

Baker said several of her friends at the dorm caught the virus before she did.

“One by one, my friends started to cough or sneeze,” Baker said.

Baker’s dorm, Granville Towers, was one of the first to report a cluster of COVID-19. Granville still has the highest number of cases, with 188 cases confirmed since the semester started.

“Ever since we got the first notification of the COVID cluster, I kind of knew that we were counting our days,” Baker said.

When Baker first moved on campus in early August, she was hopeful everything would work out.

“The class of 2020 has definitely dealt with our fair share of disappointments,” Baker said. “I’m an 18-year-old girl who didn’t get a graduation and I just wanted some normalcy.”

Now after seeing more than 1,000 students contract the virus this year at UNC-Chapel Hill, she said she is concerned about the impact this will have on the state and the country.

“I think that’s the most devastating part of this is the fact that a group of students from UNC are now contributing to spreading this all across the U.S.,” Baker said.

Baker argued the University should have never reopened and she has a message for other universities that are still open.

“I can’t stress this enough, close before you have to,” Baker said. “At the end of the day health comes before money and health comes before fun. The benefits of being on campus just do not outweigh the risk of getting COVID.”

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