Starting last week, UNC students were able to get insight into what their classes would look like for the upcoming fall semester.
Although Carolina Together states that the mode of instruction for fall classes is officially available to view starting July 1, students could check ConnectCarolina as early as June 29 to see whether their classes were designated as face-to-face/hybrid, hyflex (both in-person and remote learning), remote and recitation or remote only.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin said in an interview with The Daily Tar Heel that the current class designations as they appear on ConnectCarolina are not final. He said what students can see reflects the University's "best understanding of the mode of delivery" for classes in the fall.
Registration for continuing students is closed until July 21, due to changes that need to be made "behind the curtain" to ConnectCarolina, Blouin said. He said it is possible that between now and the start of classes on Aug. 10, the mode of instruction shown to students will change.
Some students returning in the fall expressed mixed emotions about the possibility of coming back to campus, concerned about the coronavirus and a lack of transparency around how the University will enforce public health guidelines.
Nicholas Batman said he is currently enrolled in all remote classes.
"I do obviously miss campus, I'm a senior, I'd love to be back," Batman said. "But at the same time, I'm a big public health guy, and it's very evident that the University, they're not being transparent with the precautions they're taking, or the ways they seek to enforce actual safety for their students, faculty and staff."
Batman said he was happy about the idea of returning to his Chapel Hill apartment in the fall to take his classes, even if they were all remote, in order to be back in the school environment. But he said he's upset that UNC will continue to charge full tuition for a semester that's "a far stone's throw away" from what he believes should be the standard college experience.
Daisy Byars, a rising junior who will be staying in the Hinton James Residence Hall next semester, has two fully online classes in the fall, in addition to other courses. She said that for some students like herself, coming back to campus is a better option for learning, despite the potentially higher risk of infection.
"I have my own space, I don't have to rely on people and I don't have the other responsibilities of being home and helping," Byars said. "Not that I don't mind that, but when you have school as well — my home situation is pretty toxic so I didn't find it very beneficial for me to be there."
The lack of specific information about the metrics for fall plans has some students, like rising senior Nikhil Rao, worried about returning.
"I've been watching the webinars that have been going on and I've been disappointed to see what that looks like as well," Rao said. "As someone who extensively read through the Roadmap website, and then listened to the webinar hoping I would get some more questions answered, I was disappointed to not learn any new information from those webinars."
UNC's Carolina Together website currently lists the University's policies regarding mask-wearing and social distancing expectations, but it does not outline what will happen if students are found violating those policies.
Some colleges have struggled with outbreaks on campus — the University of Washington reported July 3 that at least 117 students living across 15 different fraternity houses self-reported that they had tested positive for COVID-19.
Blouin said that there will be consequences for students who are caught violating the University's policies. It's possible that students who refuse to wear a mask indoors will be taken out of classes, or lose the ability to stay in on campus housing, he said.
"We will not be able to ensure our faculty, staff and students, who all want to be safe, we would not be able to ensure (their safety) if people flagrantly ignored that policy," Blouin said. "And we know that indoor spaces are more restrictive than outdoor spaces, and the only protection we really have for each other is wearing a mask."
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