Students react after 3rd COVID-19 cluster confirmed at UNC-Chapel Hill

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — A third cluster of COVID-19 was reported at the Sigma Nu fraternity house at UNC-Chapel Hill Saturday.

The other two clusters were reported at two residence halls earlier in the week, all three clusters happened during the first week back on campus for students.

The situation created concern for students like Greear Webb who decided to live off campus and take virtual classes this year.

“I’m having many friends who are saying ‘We’re going to come home, it’s in my best interest to come home, my family wants me to come home.’ I mean I’m hearing that it is out of control,” said Webb, a sophomore and co-founder of Young Americans Protest.

The coronavirus cases come as video and pictures surfaced showing a lack of social distancing and face coverings at gatherings near campus.

Collyn Smith lives on campus and now fears a cluster at his dorm.

Smith, Webb and other students previously provided recommendations to UNC as an alternative to having students return.

The students say if they were heard, maybe things would be different.

“That’s terrifying to me that I could get told to leave and have to go somewhere where I don’t have the same resources or access to courses as other people, and also face the financial brunt of it because there goes my financial aid package,” said Collyn Smith, an undergraduate senator at UNC.

Officials say the affected students are isolating and receiving medical monitoring. Contact tracing is also underway.

However students fear things may still get worse.

“With students we have personal responsibility, but the bigger blame lies with the system and the administration for putting us in this scenario,” said Webb.

A cluster is defined as five or more cases in a dwelling.

CBS 17 is still waiting to hear back from school leaders about any additional actions they may take now.

Town police have started issuing citations to people not following COVID-19 guidelines to help prevent the spread.

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