UNC Tenured Faculty Tell Students to Stay Home Amid COVID Concerns: 'It Is Not Safe for You to Come to Campus'Breaking News
tags: public health, colleges and universities, COVID-19
Tenured faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) told undergraduate students in an open letter not to return to campus this fall because of coronavirus concerns, the latest move in the debate over reopening schools.
"We need to stay safe from Covid-19 by staying at home – and we need you to stay home in order to protect yourselves and your fellow students, your teachers, the many workers who serve you on campus, the residents of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and your own family members and loved ones," 30 tenured faculty members wrote in a letter published Thursday by The Charlotte Observer.
UNC-CH announced in May that it would begin classes on August 10, with the university offering multiple instruction models for students depending on class size and student preference. Classes may be offered face-to-face, entirely remote or a hybrid model of the two, according to the school's website.
Erik Gellman, a UNC-CH history professor and one of the letter's signees, told Newsweek that the letter was a last-minute effort to appeal to students and their families, who have largely received positive messaging assuring their safety on campus.
"What we thought we needed to do given the urgency of the situation was to put a letter together that specifically is addressed to undergraduate students. We came to understand that most undergraduate students and their families were not getting mixed messages about reopening," Gellman said. "We wanted to get this message out there to them as faculty to say, 'Please think twice about coming. We really don't think it's safe for you to come back in the fall.'"
The original signees circulated the letter out to other faculty members Friday afternoon and had received 50 additional signatures by Saturday morning, Gellman said.
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