Should UNC-CH students return to campus this spring? Committee helping the University decide

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Campus leaders at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are mulling over whether to bring students back to campus for the spring semester.

Last week, UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the university is considering the possibility.

“Our hope is that we will bring students back to live and learn on campus this spring semester,” Guskiewicz said.

But on Thursday, 2,277 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in North Carolina.

UNC sophomore Max Lewin said he does not want to see a repeat of what happened in August.

“I’m in the mindset where I don’t think we should reopen,” Lewin said.

As CBS 17 previously reported, multiple clusters of COVID-19 were reported at UNC’s campus in August, and students were forced to turn around and go home after just weeks of living on campus.

“I think that this semester was a disaster and ended up putting a lot of students in danger,” Lewin said.

But this time around, the University has created a 26-member Campus and Community Advisory Committee to give recommendations about reopening plans.

“Having this committee will get more voices on the table,” said Mimi Chapman, one of the chairs of the committee.

The committee, which is made up of faculty, students, and community members, was appointed by university leaders and will meet on a regular basis.

They will discuss what concerns they have about spring reopening plans and bring recommendations to University leaders.

At their last meeting, the committee discussed concerns about a need for increased availability of COVID-19 testing for students and what safety measures can be put in place if the campus were to reopen.

While the committee can make recommendations, it will be up to University leaders and the UNC System to decide what happens.

“I’m hoping that the chancellor and UNC administration is really going to take into account what the committee has to say,” Lewin said.

The committee is currently working to come up with a recommendation on a start date for the spring semester. Guskiewicz said they hope to have this decision made by next week.

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