UNC ironing out spring plans for re-entry COVID-19 testing

North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – After thousands of students had to abruptly move off-campus in August due to clusters of COVID-19, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is ironing out the details for re-entry testing for the spring semester.

This spring, all students, faculty, and staff will be required to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus.

University leaders discussed COVID-19 testing plans during a Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 12.

Dr. Amir Barzin, the medical director at the Family Medicine Center at Chapel Hill, said in the meeting there will be three large testing facilities on campus where students can go to get a self-administered COVID-19 test.

“It’s basically a short stick that goes to the side of your nose,” Barzin said. “It’s a very fast swab and it’s noninvasive.”

Barzin said 15 to 18 people will be able to get tested at a time at these facilities. The plan is for the test results to be released within 24 hours.

“From front to finish, it should take no more than two minutes for someone to come through, register themselves for their own test, administer the test, and then walk out of the testing center,” Barzin said.

Barzin said the testing center is also working with its IT team on creating an online reporting platform where students will be able to get their test results.

D.J. Murphy is a UNC freshman who has been learning virtually from his hometown near the Iron Mine Area, which is two hours away from Chapel Hill.

“It’s been a challenge learning back at home. I’m less motivated,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Carolina Housing approved him to move back on campus for the spring. He is excited to come back.

“I’m ready to come back to the environment and the access to resources,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he is glad to know they are going to require everyone get tested before coming back.

“If that would’ve taken place in August, it would’ve helped out greatly,” Murphy said.

While he said he does have some fears about coming back, he said it is worth a try with this testing plan in place.

“I know some people will get it and it’s just something we have to live with until the vaccination comes out,” Murphy said. “I’m just going to remain positive and hope for the best.”

UNC will be releasing the locations for the testing sites at a later date.

University leaders also said they will be expanding their quarantine and isolation dorm space on campus.

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