UNC Chapel Hill's coronavirus reopening guidelines sparks protest from students, faculty

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UNC-Chapel Hill students expected to return to campus before classes resume Aug. 10 protested with a "die-in" on campus on Wednesday as university officials catch flak for going against the coronavirus recommendations of county health officials.

Dozens of students and staff lay down outside UNC's South Building on Wednesday in protest, WCHL reported.

"I think the most disappointing thing to me is the absolute abdication of leadership responsibilities by Chancellor [Kevin] Guskiewicz," David Brannigan, a groundskeeper at UNC, told WCHL. "He is not leading and looking after his university and his people."

Orange County Health Department Director Quintana Stewart recommended that UNC only allow students in need of housing back on campus for the first five weeks of the semester in a July 29 letter made public on Wednesday.

The letter recommended that UNC look into going virtual for the entire semester.

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"We believe we have made significant progress towards aligning with the OCHD's general recommendations and considerations," Guskiewicz told students on Wednesday, adding that on-campus residential capacity has been cut to 64%.

South Building on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. (iStock)

UNC will "continue to track trends that could lead us to recommend a modification to our plans," Guskiewicz wrote.

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UNC has introduced an online coronavirus case tracker. The campus reported 13 new coronavirus cases among students between July 27 and Aug. 2 for a total of 175 total cases among students and employees since February.

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