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UNC School of the Arts may go for online learning due to COVID-19 spread

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — The UNC School of the Arts is considering moving classes, rehearsals, labs and studios online temporarily in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, and officials say the situation could force them to send students home.

While the school’s dashboard says it has just seven active cases among students, UNCSA already is reporting 50 cases among students, employees and contractors in 2021, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. That’s more than the 34 cases the school reported during the entire fall semester.

“Though our case count might look low on the dashboard, the circumstances in which the cases are happening have let us know that Community Health Standards are not being followed,” UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole wrote to the campus community on Monday. “The number of contacts being traced from exposures is highly concerning.”

Officials say the school could also suspend upcoming productions and performances, and if those changes don’t work, the school suggested students will have to finish the spring semester at home.

The school blamed the rise in close contacts on out-of-class gatherings where students didn’t wear masks or follow social-distancing guidelines. Cole earlier this week said it’s evidence of “Covid fatigue” among students, faculty and staff.

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