The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

2020 Coronavirus Outbreak


Maya Tadross stands outside Koury Residence Hall. Photo courtesy of Tadross.

'These are our lives on the line': Immunocompromised students consider fall return to UNC

According to the CDC, people of any age with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity or moderate-to-severe asthma, as well as people who are immunocompromised, may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  For many UNC students with pre-existing medical conditions, the decision to return to the University in August is quickly turning into a matter of life and death.

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Members of the Brazilian Student Association (BRASA) at UNC pose at a meeting. Photo courtesy of Francesca Del Posso.

'A really cruel move': International students express concern over ICE visa restrictions

On July 6, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced changes to temporary exemptions for students on F-1 and M-1 visas taking online classes in the fall because of the pandemic. Under the exemptions, students who are taking an entirely remote course load are not allowed to remain in the country, and if they do not leave or take measures like transferring to another school with in-person classes, they face potential deportation. 

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Students walk through Polk Place, or the quad, past Wilson Library on Sunday, June 7, 2020.

Information about class delivery becomes available; students voice concerns

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 for whether their classes were designated as face-to-face/hybrid, hyflex (both in person and remote), remote and recitation or remote only. 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. 

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A stack of books from the Chapel Hill Public Library on Thursday, May 14, 2020. The Library has since decided that it will not be reopening in Phase One of North Carolina's COVID-19 recovery plan.

Chapel Hill Public Library announces it will no longer charge late fines

Chapel Hill Public Library will no longer charge users overdue fines for late items. Under the new policy, users will receive a series of reminders to return the materials before receiving a bill for replacement costs and losing their ability to check out other items. Their ability will be restored once the items are returned or paid for. Town leaders said late fines had a disproportionate impact on “low-income and traditionally marginalized populations.” 

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Screenshot from the virtually-held Campus Safety Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 to discuss concerns about returning to campus regarding COVID-19.

Campus Safety Commission discusses community standards and rising COVID-19 cases

With a little more than a month left before the fall semester is set to begin, critical questions about the return to on-campus operations remain.  The Campus Safety Commission met Wednesday to discuss some of these concerns, including implementation of community standards, the current rate of COVID-19 cases and what could trigger potential “off-ramps” to send students home. 

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Students in Evanston, IL joined countless other cities around the nation in support of the Black Lives Matter movement by protesting against the killing of George Floyd and other recent tragedies on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

What will protests look like in the fall? Community members, free speech experts discuss

In the weeks following the killing of George Floyd, several student groups, including UNC Black Congress and the Black Student Movement, have been involved in organizing protests against police brutality and systemic racism across the Triangle.  However, given UNC’s safety guidelines for the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, questions remain as to how protesting efforts will be carried out on the University’s campus during the upcoming semester.  

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Graphic of Heel Talk podcast

Heel Talk episode 12: Faculty and staff petition UNC against return to campus

In this episode, host Evely Forte spoke to DTH reporter and incoming Assistant Copy Editor Sasha Schroeder and incoming Assistant Online Editor Praveena Somasundaram to understand why many UNC faculty members, professors and teaching assistants are petitioning UNC administration about the fall 2020 semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, what the petitioners are really demanding and how they hope the University will implement potential changes. 

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