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UNC, NC State to begin Fall semester early

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Fall semester will have an early start at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, the schools announced Thursday.

UNC will begin the Fall semester ten days early on Aug. 10, with students moving in starting Aug. 3, and conclude final exams two days before Thanksgiving. N.C. State will begin on the same date—nine days earlier than originally announced—and also finish finals before Thanksgiving.

Students at both schools will not have a fall break, nor will they return to campus after Thanksgiving. 

In a letter to students, N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson wrote that the purpose of canceling breaks is to prevent students and staff from potentially exposing others to COVID-19 when they return to campus after travel.

The New York Times recently reported that several universities have made plans to send students home early because of fears of a second coronavirus outbreak in late fall.

UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State also announced that class sizes, methods of instruction and traffic patterns around campus might be adjusted in an effort to promote physical distancing between students.

Not all institutions under the UNC system will follow the same protocol as UNC-Chapel Hill. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro plans to start on time and end before Thanksgiving with no fall break, but students will take their final exams online. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte announced May 4 that classes will begin on Sept. 7, two weeks later than expected.

Duke announced Thursday that students would return to campus for the Fall, with details including how many students would come back and what the calendar will look like to be announced by the end of June. 

On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order allowing the state to move into Phase Two of reopening May 22. The plan allows restaurants, personal care services and swimming pools to open at 50% capacity.

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