Education

UNC president: Expect a return to classrooms this fall

Posted May 20, 2020 11:12 a.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2020 12:52 p.m. EDT

— The University of North Carolina system's interim president said Wednesday that he expects students to return to in-person classes this fall and that campus leaders hope to have a more detailed game plan ready by the end of May.

Dr. Bill Roper said the system has draft guidance out to campus chancellors and wants to have it finalized by the end of the month. The system moved to online classes in March.

"We are optimistic, leaning in and expecting our students faculty and staff to return to classrooms, labs and libraries this fall," Roper told the UNC Board of Governors.

The comments, made during the board's regular meeting, reconfirmed some of Roper's past statements on a return to campus. He said Wednesday "we will be ready for any set of circumstances that may prevail."

During its meeting, the board approved $44 million in coronavirus funding set aside for the system, divvying it up between the system's 17 campuses, the state arboretum and the system office. In addition to the campus payouts, there's $5 million for digital learning enhancements system-wide.

The General Assembly also appropriated another $50 million or so direct to certain campus programs during its recent coronavirus session, primarily for COVID-19 research and to help teaching hospitals attached to UNC system campuses. The legislature approved another $20 million that will go to private universities in the state.

The Board of Governors also named a new long-term chancellor Wednesday for the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, elevating interim chancellor Brian Cole. His salary will be $280,000 a year.

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