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UNC Chapel Hill says 3 feet is enough space for upcoming semester.

Posted June 29, 2020 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2020 9:49 p.m. EDT

UNC Chapel Hill announced a social distancing policy of 3 feet for the upcoming Fall 2020 semester.

Kristen and Jonathan Knudsen, who have kids attending UNC, said they don’t think that’s enough distance.

“CDC guidance and State of North Carolina and Orange County are all saying 6 feet,” said Knudsen.

The UNC website also said that faculty and students will not be notified if a classmate tests positive for COVID-19.

Even when contact-tracing or alerting students who may have been exposed to COVID-19, UNC's website said they would not consider students who sat 3 feet apart and wore masks to be 'close contacts' – and therefore they would not be considered someone who needs to be traced, alerted or quarantined.

UNC faculty speak up

Parents are not the only ones with concerns. A faculty member is
also speaking up.

“Even 6 feet is risky, and 3 feet is crazy,” said Dr. María DeGuzman, distinguished Professor of English & Comparative Literature at UNC.

“We were going remote when only 25 people were in the hospital here in North Carolina back in March. Why are we rushing back to the classroom when we have 890 people in the hospital and surging cases?” she said.

A spokesperson with UNC provided this statement: “Our Roadmap for Fall 2020 is informed with guidance from infectious disease researchers, public health experts and our campus community. Our roadmap is a living document that we expect to change and evolve as we find the best way forward together."

How to protect students living in dorms

Another big concern is dorms and the close proximity in which students will live.

“They are planning on cleaning the bathrooms more frequently than they used to,” said Knudsen.

Will that be enough to keep students safe?

“We’ll have to see if it is sufficient,” said Knudsen.

Many parents and students said they would like to mainly have remote classes – at least until coronavirus cases go down.​

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