Many UNC students consider Chapel Hill their home — we attend classes, use public transportation, eat at local restaurants and get involved in community politics. While our lives revolve around the Town of Chapel Hill and our peers at UNC, it can be difficult to realize how our presence in the college town impacts permanent residents of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area.
Being a good neighbor is incredibly important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to student move-in, town officials expressed concerns about the influx of college students and potential for COVID-19 spreading throughout the community. Students would be sharing living spaces, grocery stores, restaurants and shops with permanent residents, thus increasing the risk for the virus to spread both on and off campus.
Furthermore, the potential for COVID-19 to worsen poses a major threat to local businesses, many of which have struggled to stay open as confirmed cases surge.
Since the semester began, the Chapel Hill Police Department has issued numerous citations to people violating COVID-19 safety procedures. Case numbers have also been on a rise since early August, when students returned to campus. Orange County reported 1,573 cases on August 10, which has increased to 2,632 cases as of Thursday. Nearly half of all the county’s reported cases are in the 18-24 age group, which encompasses most college-aged students.