University of North Carolina changing fall semester dates ‘to stay ahead’ of second coronavirus wave

The University of North Carolina (UNC) will start its fall semester eight days early, along with additional scheduling changes “to stay ahead” of a possible second wave of coronavirus outbreaks in the fall and winter months.

UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz announced the semester would begin Aug. 10 during a board of trustees meeting on Thursday, The Daily Tar Heel reported.

He added that students would be finished with finals by Nov. 24 and would not return to campus until classes resume in the spring semester.

Guskiewicz said that school staff should prepare for a variety of learning methods, including in-person, remote and hybrid teaching.

“On the guidance of our infectious disease and public health experts, we will start early and finish early in an effort to stay ahead of a potential second wave of the virus,” he said. 

According to the report, the school will send out an official roadmap to reopen the school to students next week, which includes establishing community standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing. The plans also include increased research operations on-campus starting June 1.

Class sizes will also be adjusted to meet social distancing standards, as well as transitioning exits and entrances for buildings into one-way channels, Guskiewicz said.

The adjustment in class sizes could also lead to more weeknight classes, he added.

“During this time we must all prepare for and accept some inconveniences, and adopt the community standards that we’re building and the behavior that will help ensure a safe Carolina campus,” the chancellor said. 

On Monday, the University of South Carolina announced similar updates for its fall 2020 schedule, saying that it would cancel students’ fall break and end in-person classes after Thanksgiving break in late November, citing concerns of a potential second outbreak of the coronavirus later this year.

Tags Coronavirus Education North Carolina

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