Students are responding to UNC’s plan to return to campus in the fall — announced by Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz on Thursday — with a range of concerns, including worries about their health and safety and fears of burnout and academic stress as a result of a shortened schedule.
Under the University's current plan, fall semester will begin Aug. 10 and final exams will finish by Nov. 24.
Student Body President Reeves Moseley said Undergraduate Student Government is planning to release a Google Forms survey in which students can ask questions and share comments and concerns about returning in the fall. These responses will be shared with UNC's administration so they can be addressed in the upcoming Carolina's Roadmap website.
Moseley said that his administration is currently working on how to implement social distancing measures in classes. In the fall, he said, his administration will make sure students have the opportunity to vote in the 2020 election despite the pandemic and focus on mental health advocacy through a cross-collaboration mental health initiative with Duke University and N.C. State University.
“Everything we’ve known prior to this pandemic has changed now, especially in the realm of school,” Moseley said. “We’re focusing on how different kinds of circumstances look different on a case-by-case basis and how we can accommodate all of those needs for every student.”
Grace Angelino, a junior from Davidson, North Carolina, is worried that it is unsafe to return to campus at all.
“I think the safest thing would be having classes fully online, but people don’t learn as well online and people obviously don’t want to pay full tuition to basically go to an online university,” Angelino said.
Angelino, who has an autoimmune condition that puts her at higher risk for COVID-19, said she was disappointed that the University has not offered more accommodations for students like her.
Selena Nguyen, a senior from Concord, North Carolina, said returning to campus is necessary for those who have struggled with online learning and are facing mental health issues while isolated at home.