NC State moves undergraduate classes online as COVID-19 cases increase on campus

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – N.C. State University is moving all undergraduate classes online following an increase in COVID-19 cases among students in the last several days, Chancellor Randy Woodson announced Thursday.

“We have also recently witnessed the negative impacts caused by those who did not take personal responsibility. We’ve had reports of large parties in off-campus apartments. In the last two days alone, we’ve identified three COVID-19 clusters in off-campus and Greek Village houses that can be traced to parties and behavior outside of our community standards and the governor’s mandates,” Woodson said.

N.C. State officials made the decision following a series of COVID-19 clusters in off-campus and Greek Life housing.

“I was disappointed because a lot of my professors were putting a lot of effort into making it safe,” said Callie, a junior at N.C. State.

Sarah Sarp is a senior design major at N.C. State. She’s disappointed, but tells CBS 17 she saw it coming.

“In the back of my head, I knew it was going to come down to this,” Sarp said of NCSU’s decision to transition undergraduate classes online. “I hoped that as college students we could have been responsible enough to keep this from happening.”

The university said the COVID-19 clusters at off-campus and Greek Life housing are linked to parties.

“I just kind of expected it because I heard everyone, that there were a lot of cases arising,” said Max Barbour, a freshman who lives in the dorms.

He added, “Everybody wanted to have fun because it’s like the first week of college and everyone is like let’s go and meet.”

That led to at least 500 students in quarantine or isolation. The university says 50 or so live in the dorms, and the rest live off-campus or in fraternity or sorority houses.

“The school had been doing a good job at keeping everyone safe,” said Shubashni, a Junior at NC State. “But I mean, I think it’s on the people because you shouldn’t be gathering when you should be, ya know. There are consequences.”

The change for undergraduate classes takes effect Aug. 24.

Graduate courses and clinical education may continue to meet in-person or in a hybrid format. N.C. State’s research laboratories will remain open and fully operational, and research opportunities for students will continue.

“As of today, through our aggressive contact tracing program we have more than 500 students in quarantine and isolation, mostly off campus, who have either tested positive or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive,” Woodson said. “We are also investigating other potential off-campus clusters.”

Woodson confirmed that on-campus housing is not closing and students are welcome to continue living in residence halls.

“If you choose to move home, you can cancel your University Housing contract with no penalty, and you will be reimbursed the prorated amount for housing and dining based on the number of days you lived on campus,” Woodson said.

On Tuesday, N.C. State announced a COVID-19 cluster at an off-campus residence on Clark Avenue. That residence was the site of a party around Aug. 6, the school said.

Eight cases were also announced from N.C. State’s Greek Life on Tuesday.

The following day, the University announced clusters at two sororities – Alpha Delta Pi Sorority House, with seven positive cases, and the Kappa Delta Sorority House, with six positive cases.

The chancellor called the infections in Greek life “significant” as seven Greek houses are quarantined.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made the move to online-only classes for undergraduates on Monday.

That switch came after four clusters were announced at the school in three days. UNC-CH said 130 students tested positive for COVID-19 between Aug. 10 and Aug. 16.

On Wednesday, UNC-CH suspended athletics until at least 5 p.m. Thursday due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

Classes began at both N.C. State and UNC-CH on Aug. 10.

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