Normally, students rushing Franklin Street would be a celebration — a relief, even.
But 2021 is not a normal year.
Ahead of in-person classes beginning on Monday, hundreds of students rushed to the intersection of Franklin Street and Columbia Street following UNC basketball's 91-87 win over Duke, eventually lighting a fire and leaving the street littered with foam from a crowd-surfing mattress.
Despite warnings from the University not to rush, students were able to gather on Franklin Street for about 45 minutes before Chapel Hill Police dispersed the group.
Since June, North Carolina and Orange County residents have been required to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor settings. Some students rushing wore masks, but many did not.
Alton Grossman, a senior studying business, came to Franklin Street with five of his housemates. The group hung back from the center of the action.
"We wanted to come here but we didn't really want to enter the crowd because that doesn't really seem COVID safe," Grossman said. "We all live together."