As students return, UNC reports 7 with COVID in residence hall

Posted January 13, 2021 6:50 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2021 10:46 a.m. EST

— Seven students who had been living in Carmichael Residence Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over winter break have tested positive for COVID-19.

UNC housekeeper Germany Alston is concerned because she was just working in the building on Tuesday.

"I walked through yesterday, and now all of a sudden it’s a cluster,” Alston said.

A spokeswoman for the university says the residence hall was deep cleaned in addition to the already-strict cleaning protocols in place.

The students who tested positive are now in isolation and the university is also working with the Orange County Health Department to identify any other additional potential exposures.

“We’re going to have cases, you know, that’s just a fact," said sophomore Lamar Richards. "But I didn’t expect this to happen this early. This semester does not begin until next Tuesday. I was definitely was not expecting a cluster this early.

Richards says it's a sign the school needs to re-adjust its plan.

“We do need to reevaluate our plan and truly look at whether the quality of education we think we are getting in person – is it truly worth the risk of everyone’s safety and health?” Richards said.

So far, 1,422 students have move-in appointments scheduled between Jan. 13 and Jan 17.

The university says classes will begin on Jan. 19 as planned, with students working remotely. In-person classes are to start Feb. 8.

Students who were scheduled to move in have the option of changing their move-in day if they would like.

Seventy-one students have notified Carolina Housing they’d like to delay moving in until after Jan. 17.

Those who live in the Carmichael building but who did not have close contact with those infected will be tested out of an abundance of caution, the university said.

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