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UNC-Chapel Hill says it will halt in-person classes after coronavirus outbreak on campus

Students walk past Wilson Library on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jonathan Drake | Reuters

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced Monday it is canceling in-person undergraduate classes and shifting them entirely to remote learning after a coronavirus outbreak quickly spread across campus just two weeks after students returned for the fall semester. 

University administrators made the announcement just a week after classes began at the 30,000-student public university. UNC was one of the largest universities in the country to decide to hold in-person classes for the fall semester amid the pandemic.

The school said in a statement Monday that the Covid-19 “positivity” rate jumped to 13.6% as of Sunday from 2.8% a week before. “As of this morning, we have tested 954 students and have 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus.”

Due to the rise in cases, the university will shift all undergraduate in-person courses to remote learning by Wednesday, the university said. Courses in the graduate, professional and health affairs schools will “continue to be taught as they are, or as directed by the schools.”

The university didn’t say if remote learning would be in place all semester, but offered to cancel residence hall reservations without penalty.

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