UNC-Chapel Hill’s fall semester COVID-19 outbreak started before classes even began, and it looks like the spring semester is following in its heelprints. The university announced a virus cluster in Carmichael Residence Hall on Wednesday, marking the first COVID cluster reported by the school since August 2020. Carmichael was also the site of a cluster during UNC’s fall semester.

The university says the infected students have been moved out of the dorm temporarily and are being isolated. Close contacts have also been informed, tested, and are currently isolating.

The announcement says that the students in the cluster were living in the dorm over winter break and that the infections were discovered thanks to surveillance testing, one of the many ways UNC-CH is trying to correct their past mistakes.

The university’s disastrous fall semester led to several changes for the spring. Students have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the last five days or that they already had COVID in the last three months to return to in-person classes. They recently announced that classes will be remote for the first three weeks of the semester, giving students until February 8 to descend on Chapel Hill and Carrboro. 

Carolina’s COVID dashboard has yet to be updated with the news. The website reports that only one case has been identified since December 21, and that there are no active clusters on UNC’s campus. Almost 1,500 Carolina students have reported positive tests since February 2020.

Wednesday was the first day students living on campus could move back to school before the semester begins. A UNC representative says the students scheduled to move into Carmichael today have heard the news, and UNC Housing is working with any students who want to make adjustments.

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