NC State planning to resume some in-person classes in January

Posted September 23, 2020 6:11 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2020 7:03 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University officials said Wednesday that plans for the spring semester, which starts Jan. 11, currently include a mix of online and in-person classes and reduced capacity in dormitories.

The school moved fall semester classes online last month and asked thousands of students to leave campus after a spike in coronavirus cases.

"Spring in Raleigh is one of the best times of the year – a time of renewal, new starts and hope. Our university community continues to show remarkable resilience in dealing with the twists and turns of COVID-19, and we are cautiously optimistic as we make plans for the spring semester," Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Woodson said there's been no viral spread in classrooms, offices, libraries, student centers or shared restrooms in residence halls. Only 43 employees have tested positive for the virus through Monday – less than 4 percent of the total cases on campus – according to university figures.

"What we have seen, clearly, is that COVID-19 is easily and quickly spread through social gatherings, such as parties (large and small), as well as communal living spaces where students are in double occupancy bedrooms," he said.

To prevent a repeat of the August spike, N.C. State "will more aggressively enforce violations of our community standards and state mandates" both on campus and off, he said.

For the spring semester, the university will have a mix of online, in-person and hybrid classes for undergraduates and graduate students. All dormitory space will be single rooms, and more space will be set aside for students needing to be in isolation or quarantine.

Campus health officials and medical professionals are working to enhance the university's testing and contact tracing capacity and to develop a vaccination plan once a coronavirus vaccine is available, Woodson said.

"I want to reassure you that the health and safety of our community remains our top priority as we make decisions about the spring," he said.

The semester is scheduled to run through April 29, with final exams the first week of May. Although the university canceled fall break for a condensed calendar, a spring break is scheduled for March 15-19.

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