'I'd just rather not live like that:' Students move out of UNC-Chapel Hill dorms after just one week of classes

Josh Chapin Image
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Students pack up, move out of UNC-Chapel Hill dorms after one week of class amid COVID-19 clusters
Students pack up, move out of UNC-Chapel Hill dorms after one week of class amid COVID-19 clusters

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- UNC-Chapel Hill students are packing up and going home after in-person classes were moved online just a week into the semester.

"It's so weird to leave each other after just meeting," said Caroline Flowers, a first-year.

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Her mom Allison came to pick her up Tuesday -- just 11 days after dropping her off.

They are headed back to Greenville.

"I kind of figured this would happen," Allison said. "We had to give it the old 'girl-scout try' and just hope she can salvage the rest of the semester online."

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Caroline and her mother packed up at Hinton James Residence Hall, which is one dorm where the university reported clusters of COVID 19 cases in the last week.

This in part was what led the university to move to fully remote instruction by Wednesday.

"They're not kicking people out now but I'm guessing it's going to get to that point so I might as well," said Kai Mercado, who's headed home to North Raleigh after two weeks on campus. "Things are uncertain right now, a lot of anxiety, I'd just rather not live like that."

Student leaders gathered Tuesday to ask the university to close campus down immediately and not make the same mistakes again.

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"You're gambling with lives," said Tamiya Troy, president of the Black Student Movement at UNC. "It's just not something that's on the table that we're seeing how this goes. We're talking about students possibly dying and not just students but faculty members and staff too."

Students want the university to pause classes for two weeks to give folks time to adjust, put in the 'Pass/Fail' option for fall classes and reduce room and board for students who have to be on campus.

"I think they had the opportunity to sit these young adults down and say 'Hey you're going to be our leaders,'" said Peggy Bracey, who sent her sophomore Blair back to Chapel Hill for the semester.

She thought UNC could've forged ahead.

"She's bummed, I don't think any of the students want to come home," Peggy said.

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