• 48°

UNC, NC State to resume in-person classes on Aug. 10

By Sarah Blake Morgan and Jonathan Drew
Associated Press

CONCORD — Two of North Carolina’s largest public universities announced plans Thursday for a condensed fall semester to guard against spreading COVID-19 as a top federal health official visiting the state stressed the importance of reopening the economy.

The chancellors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University sent emails to students and faculty outlining the schedule. Both campuses will start Aug. 10, skip fall break and complete final exams before Thanksgiving to end the semester early. The measures are meant to eliminate travel related to fall break and guard against a possible second wave of coronavirus cases starting in late fall.

“Many public health experts believe our nation and our state could face a second wave of COVID-19 sometime in late fall or early winter,” N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in his email regarding the Raleigh campus. “This guidance led us to start and finish the semester early in an effort to try and stay ahead of a potential second wave.”

Last month, the leader of North Carolina’s public university system announced his intention for its 17 campuses to resume in-person classes in the fall, leaving details to individual chancellors and promising to accommodate those who aren’t comfortable returning to campus.

During a visit to the Charlotte area, federal Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the upcoming NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday in Concord is “an important part of getting America back and to working, to school, to functioning, to getting people out and getting our activities going again.”

He praised North Carolina’s governor for moving the state into a second phase of loosened restrictions Friday, noting that economic downturns can lead to increased suicide rates and reductions in vaccinations and cancer screenings.

“Those are all very important health consequences of the stay-at-home measures that are there to prevent against disease spread. And so everything has to be balanced. … And so that’s why it’s important to see what Gov. Cooper is doing here with the move tomorrow to Phase 2,” he said.

Azar addressed reporters after touring a testing center at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and having a discussion with health leaders about reopening state economies.

Asked by a reporter if state reopenings could cause spikes in virus cases, Azar said it’s too early to tell and that the data is “inconclusive.”

Asked about what preparations Charlotte will need to make to safely host the Republican National Convention in August, Azar said increasing testing capacity will be important. However, he didn’t refer to a traditional in-person convention as a certainty, but rather noted that “we’re several months away from the possibility of the RNC.”

Statewide, health officials announced nearly 21,000 positive cases as of Thursday, an increase of about 700 from the previous day. The state has about 700 virus deaths and nearly 600 hospitalizations. North Carolina also reported its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare condition linked with the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods reported 570 cases of COVID-19 at a poultry processing complex in Wilkesboro. Tyson issued a statement that it tested more than 2,000 workers and that most testing positive are asymptomatic. Tyson said it’s increasing testing, health care options and protective gear.

Statewide, health officials tallied about 2,000 virus cases in at least 27 meat-processing plants.

The state’s court system also announced the extension of many case deadlines to July 31 and said no jury trials will be held until August.

Comments

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’