Following a week full of announcements about housing and remote instruction, UNC has answered calls from students to temporarily pause classes.
Undergraduate students living on campus are scrambling to move out and secure new living situations after the University announced Monday the switch to remote classes and efforts to de-densify on-campus housing.
The University announced Thursday night that undergraduate instruction will pause this upcoming Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 24 and 25. Students who are currently enrolled in courses taught in UNC's professional schools should contact their faculty for further guidance, the University said in a campuswide email.
Faculty have discretion in how to make up the canceled class meetings later in the semester.
But amid all the sudden changes to campus operations, classwork has continued, and some students are concerned about what grading options are available now.
Christopher Everett, a first-year student who is living on campus, said he plans to move home because he feels his options for off-campus housing are limited.
“I am 18 years old,” Everett said. “I can’t do my taxes alone, so being expected to get an apartment and having to navigate such a huge change and still do classwork is absolutely unacceptable.”
Everett said he was living in a single room in Ehringhaus Residence Hall before the announcement to move classes online came. He said he and his family are immunocompromised, and though he knows he wasn’t exposed to the virus, he is worried other students might have been.
Rachel Reynolds, a first-year student who was living on campus, tested positive for COVID-19 and decided to isolate at home while she recovered. She said she was overwhelmed with managing her 17-credit hour course load while planning to move out of her dorm and recovering from COVID-19.
“I’m moving out tomorrow, and it’s literally the day I’m allowed to leave isolation,” Reynolds said. “I am so stressed about how they just sprung this on us so quickly.”
Ronik Grewal, a first-year student who lived on campus, said he noticed inconsistencies in what different professors were doing to accommodate students during this time.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of communication between the administration and the faculty, because the teachers don’t really seem to know what to do,” Grewal said.
He said while some of his professors were accommodating, others continued as usual.
“I had a test in Spanish yesterday while I was moving out,” Grewal said.
Jillian Kern, a graduate student and faculty member in the English and comparative literature department, said she recognizes many people are struggling right now.
“For my students, what I have done this week is I have offered them some asynchronous activities that they can complete on their own time and ask them what they need from me,” Kern said.
Kern said she would like to see the same pass/fail option that was available to students in the spring be extended to the fall semester.
The University is offering a CV option as an alternative to the incomplete grade, which allows students to continue to submit work for the course after it has completed if they have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The issue with that, especially for graduate student instructors and also any adjunct, that means we’re on our own time with those students while they’re working to complete things, and we’re not necessarily getting paid during that time,” Kern said.
Kern said she thinks there should have been a universal policy on how to accommodate students at this time.
“It is something that is frustrating about the fact that there is no blanket policy and that instructors are just being left to their own whims on how to accommodate this,” Kern said. “I wish that off-ramps had meant that they were planning specific procedures and then communicating with faculty on that.”
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