Fallout at UNC-Chapel Hill, nation's oldest public university, about return to school

Students will take classes online as well as in-person due to coronavirus pandemic

Nearly 30,000 students are preparing to return to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus after months at home due to the coronavirus pandemic — but Chapel Hill residents and even some students themselves are fearful about accelerating the spread of the virus.

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Classes resume Aug. 10.

“I don’t think that we can deny the fact that we’re going to have cases. We already have had cases, even beyond the student-athletes. The question is, can we manage those cases in a very safe and effective way?” UNC Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin told the Town Council on Wednesday, The News & Observer reported.

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The students will take classes online as well as in person with social distancing in place. Students are required to sign commitments that they will take precautions against spreading the virus, including wearing face masks.

But what they do off-campus or even when they visit home concerns Chapel Hill residents.

A student takes a class online. (iStock)

“In the case of students, in the case of these large, off-campus houses, we need to be more than just complaint-driven. I think that we need to have some active monitoring so that we don’t wait for things to be bad,” Town Council member Michael Parker said, according to The News & Observer.

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Many in the UNC family took to social media to express their fears about bringing students back to campus.

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"UNC cares about its students so much that not only is it going to force us all back on campus after coercing us into waiving our rights, they also never fail to e-mail blast the entire student body to let us know which useless bureaucrat is being shuffled to which new fancy job," Ph.D. student Ben Sheppard wrote on Twitter.

UNC claims to be the oldest public university in the U.S. along with The University of Georgia and the College of William and Mary.

Some universities are going online or even reducing tuition.

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