CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thousands of students at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte started a new semester online Monday. For the next three weeks, students will learn online rather than in classrooms on campus.
Channel 9 reported the university delayed in-person learning to Oct. 1, and students won’t be allowed to move on campus until the end of the month.
UNC Charlotte’s chancellor made the decision late last month after clusters of cases started popping up on campuses of other state schools like UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State.
So far, many students have canceled their housing contracts. In July, school officials expected on-campus housing to be at capacity but as of late last week, it had dwindled down to about 63 percent max occupancy.
UNCC is trying to limit dorm capacity to one person per dorm.
The school hopes doing all this will help Mecklenburg County’s rate of COVID-19 cases continue to drop and prevent the campus from becoming a hot spot.
All of this also comes after the school reported its first COVID-19 cluster involving eight students living at off-campus residences. While the school year had not started when the cluster was reported, UNCC said it was important to raise campus and community awareness.
UNCC said it is committed to notifying the community of any known clusters that involve employees or students, even if it is off-campus.
The university is looking to stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus by testing students’ wastewater. Once students move in, researchers will collect samples from dorms three times a week.
They are trying to detect the presence of the coronavirus. Experts said they could detect the virus days before someone starts showing symptoms.
“You can detect the virus between three and five days in advance,” UNCC Researcher Dr. Cynthia Gibas said. “Some studies have shown up to a week in advance.”
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