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Over 400 UNC instructors tried to delay on-campus classes

Katelynn Richardson, Campus Reform

University of North Carolina instructors launched a petition asking the university to delay in-person start dates by at least a month prior to the start of classes on Wednesday.

Jay Smith, UNC history professor and author of the petition, told Campus Reform that it currently has 484 faculty signatures. This petition came after the university already implemented a requirement for students to either get the vaccine or complete weekly COVID testing.

“The current plan for UNC—which includes no ‘off-ramp’ for remote learning, unlike last fall, and no vaccine mandate—is for regular classrooms with no physical distancing, near-full dorms, football games with no masks, and full to capacity dining halls,” the petition state. “This is a formula for disaster.”

According to the document, switching to online learning for 4-6 weeks is “the only moral and compassionate path.”

In an email, UNC Media Relations told Campus Reform that “the University has layers of safety precautions in place – primarily focused on vaccines, testing and masks – to limit the spread on our campus.”

Student vaccination rates currently sit at 87%.

UNC referred to the remarks made by Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz at an August 11 Campus and Community Advisory Meeting.

“We don’t believe that we have to choose between safety and in-person learning, we can do both with the right approach,” Guskiewicz said.

Local coverage reported an in-person start to UNC’s academic year. Though a student tradition at the Chapel Hill campus to drink from a well caused some public concerns over COVID-19 fears.

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