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Sunday April 11th

UNC to require reentry COVID-19 testing for students in spring semester

Dr. Amir Barzin addresses the board via Zoom during the UNC Board of Trustees full board meeting held at The Carolina Inn using COVID-19 protocols limiting the in-person attendance to 25 and having some participate via Zoom on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Photo courtesy of Jon Gardiner.
Buy Photos Dr. Amir Barzin addresses the board via Zoom during the UNC Board of Trustees full board meeting held at The Carolina Inn using COVID-19 protocols limiting the in-person attendance to 25 and having some participate via Zoom on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Photo courtesy of Jon Gardiner.

UNC will require reentry COVID-19 testing for students at the start of the spring semester, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at Thursday’sBoard of Trustees meeting.

Dr. Amir Barzin, the medical director at the Family Medicine Center at Chapel Hill, said the University is planning to open three COVID-19 testing locations on campus in the spring, where students can self administer a noninvasive nose swab test.

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

The University will also expand quarantine and isolation dorm spaces to four or five times their capacity from the fall semester, Guskiewicz said.

“We’re working with both our local and state partners to make sure that we are very clear on the duties that the Campus Health department is going to maintain in terms of making sure that those who are on campus get moved to the appropriate dorms,” Barzin said.

Barzin said the University is in the process of opening its own testing lab to handle the large influx of expected testing. He said he expects it to be fully functional by the second week of December.

“We have been working very hard with our internal IT team, and then also external partners, to be able to make sure that we have a reporting platform that not only is able to give results to students that are being tested, but to also be able to report to our state agencies,” Barzin said.

Aside from testing, UNC Police Chief David Perry said campus police has established joint patrols with the Chapel Hill Police Department to respond to calls related to mass gatherings and other activities.

“One of the things we learned that we needed to really try to reinforce, every day of every week, is to try to control and enforce the off-campus gatherings,” Guskiewicz said. “I do believe that the vast majority of students were adhering to those community standards, but those who aren't, we hope that they, too, have learned some lessons.”

Despite the rising COVID-19 cases across North Carolina and the country over the past few weeks, Guskiewicz said he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the spring semester.

Other measures passed

The board voted unanimously to increase undergraduate and graduate nonresident tuition for 2021-22 by two percent, or $684 for undergraduates and $566 for graduate students.  Members also voted to increase tuition for nonresident law school students by eight percent, an increase of $3,066. In the same measure, a $10 increase to the Campus Health fee was approved.

Members also voted unanimously to apply a legislative scholarship provision that allows all Honors Carolina students receiving full-tuition scholarships to be treated as residents for tuition purposes.

“Qualification under the scholarship provision will enable Honors Carolina to increase the number of full scholarship awards made each year, and, by doing so, help to strengthen the University’s ability to attract outstanding students,” Terry Rhodes, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said in an email addressed at the meeting.

Other merit scholarship programs, including the Carolina Scholars, Johnston Scholars and Chancellor’s Science Scholars, already have this provision in place.

The BOT will next convene in late January after the start of the spring semester.

university@dailytarheel.com

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