CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — On Tuesday, hundreds of students and their parents began loading up their belongings just two weeks after moving in the dorms at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC freshman Sarah Burtner lives at Ehringhaus Hall where one of the first clusters of COVID-19 was reported on Friday. Her parents began moving her out of the dorms on Tuesday afternoon, as she said she doesn’t feel safe living on campus.
“I’m a little bit disappointed,” Burtner said. “But I think it’s the right decision to get people off of campus and out of congregated areas.”
This comes less than 24 hours after UNC-CH announced they were moving all undergraduate classes online.
The University is also encouraging students to move off-campus as they are opening the opportunity for fall 2020 residence hall cancellation requests with no penalty.
The move comes after four clusters of COVID-19 were confirmed at two on-campus dorms, an off-campus dorm, and a fraternity house.
According to University officials 130 students tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, 177 students are in isolation, and 349 students are in quarantine.
UNC freshman Connor Bassett has been in quarantine for four days at Craige North Hall after recently being exposed to the coronavirus.
He said the University delivers his meals on a daily basis. He said he did not expect to spend his first week of college in quarantine.
“I knew the risk coming in,” Bassett said. “It’s hard to blame the University for trying to bring us here, I think all of the students wanted to give it a shot. The fact that it didn’t work out is disappointing, but you have to understand it’s for the safety of everyone involved.”
According to the dashboard, the quarantine dorm is almost full as there are only 4 rooms available.
Some students tell CBS 17 they have already been sent to stay in quarantine in a nearby hotel as space is running out in the dorm.
On the faculty side, UNC professor Maria DeGuzman said some instructors are scrambling to shift everything online and they are given a very short time to prepare.
Deguzman said some employees at UNC are also concerned for their safety as the number of COVID-19 cases rise, some fear they may have been exposed to the virus.
“I think there’s a lot of fear and depression,” said DeGuzman. “I’m very, very sorry that it took four months to make a decision that was the decision that should’ve been made in the first place to stay online.”
University officials tell CBS 17 that 857 students have requested housing contract cancellations and 744 move-out appointments have been scheduled.
Carolina Housing is helping students navigate the move-out process.
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