Both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University opened last week, with students living on campus and in-person and hybrid classes.
Both have now ended in-person undergraduate classes and are going to remote-only classes for the rest of the semester because some students tested positive for COVID-19. Classes for graduate students at both universities are unaffected by this decision.
Statements from both universities indicate that the administrations were caught off guard because students had parties and some students tested positive for COVID-19. It makes you wonder if the administrators ever leave their offices to interact with the students. Did they actually think that students returning after months apart would not have parties? Did they think that if they tested students some would not test positive?
According to reports from the universities and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the numbers of students who tested positive should not have been alarming.
UNC-CH has about 20,000 undergraduate students. COVID-19 testing in the state has consistently shown positive results for between 6 percent and 8 percent of those tested.
At UNC-CH, this means that the expectation is that if all 20,000 students were tested the number of positive results would be between 1,200 and 1,600 students.
According to the UNC-CH Campus Health website, only students with symptoms or those who came in close contact with someone who tested positive were being tested when the decision was made to end in-person classes.
According to the UNC-CH website, the decision was made to go to remote classes because there were 117 students in isolation and 349 in quarantine for a total of 466, far below the number of positive results that would be expected if every student were tested, and not all 466 had tested positive.
The reason for going to remote classes for undergraduate students at UNC-CH is to “decrease residential density on campus,” even though off-campus parties are being blamed for many of the cases.
The decision by NC State, after 500 students were put in quarantine either because they had tested positive or had been in contact with someone who tested positive, was also to cancel in-person classes for undergraduates. But the residence halls, dining halls and other facilities remain open, making even less sense.
NC State has over 25,000 undergraduate students. Using the statewide percentage of positive tests, NC State would expect to have between 1,500 and 2,000 students test positive.
NC State, unlike UNC-CH, is not encouraging students to leave campus.
According to the message from NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson to students, off campus parties are being blamed for the clusters of positive cases. If it had been found from contract tracing that students were transmitting the disease in class, then it seems it would make sense to end in-person classes, but it isn’t reasonable to think that students are going to quit going to parties because they don’t have in-person classes.
It would appear that the administration at two of the largest and most prestigious state universities in North Carolina believed that their students were immune to COVID-19 when consistently in the state between 6 percent and 8 percent of those tested receive positive results and/or that students wouldn’t go to parties.
It is also worth noting that in the entire state of North Carolina, since the first death from COVID-19 was reported, a total of three people in the 18-24 age range with COVID-19 have died according to NCDHHS.
The numbers don’t make any more sense than any of the other COVID-19 numbers that have been provided to the public from the beginning.
Our state universities absolutely must have classes and get that tuition money (student loans) in order to pay their vastly bloated, incompetent, over-titled, over paid ADMINISTRATION! After all, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Multicultural Diversity and Folderol easily makes a quarter million a year, plus benefits, and we absolutely can NOT lay off any administrators. Lotsa cheap instructors to lay off now (tenure track faculty are declining – too expensive), and grounds keepers, custodial staff, anyone and everyone who actually works and earns their pay, but NOT administrators! After all, higher education administrative costs have only gone up 800% in the last 30 years or so, and that’s a bargain for so many fake titles! So let’s open ’em all up and party! It’ll make those administrators happy!
Totally! Gov tuition loans are the big elephant in the room. Of course the Pelosi-o-thon wants to forgive some (all) of these. While extending more loans of course. My wife and I paid for our College education at two different ACC schools. So can we get our money back? How about all the lost weekends and summers spent working two jobs to help pay for it. Can I get that time back, too?
I forget to say that all this govt money has bloated the cost of college education, as they can charge more because the taxpayer will underwrite it, by extortion.
Just give them a degree for going to their parties. Probably learn a lot there anyway. Like who-what-where-and when (and maybe how).
What numbers do you need to help make sense of this? I’m happy to try to help explain.
To set this more straight…. UNC exhibited about a 13% positive test rate when only testing those with symptoms or at risk. This is nearly double the recent statewide averages and testing based on that same criteria (that you don’t just test everyone). NC State saw a rate of 13% of those that are randomly tested (assymptomatic you’d expect around 1-3% to be positive in a random sample) and 46% in student health services patients.
Those are very legitimate outbreaks. Is closing down classes the right decisions? I don’t know. But attempting to hide behind some slanted view of epidemiology and public health numbers that only serve your septic propaganda is just a fantastic demonstration of why we probably want health experts to help a lot in making these decisions.
Statewide testing is between 6 percent and 8 percent positive, but anyone can get tested. If you’re only testing people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive you would expect the percentage to be higher.
First “anyone” cannot get get tested. Second, just because testing is more widespread across the state (compared to an university, workplace, or other small institution) does not mean that the sample represents our entire state. The statewide sample mostly includes only those that have symptoms or think they were exposed. It also includes some people that are required for some other reason to be tested and reported across the state. The vast majority of the tests are people with good reason to get tested and we are floating around 7%.
Elon University required every single faculty, staff, and student to get tested before coming to campus and you can see from those tests on their dashboard that only a fraction of a percentage were positive. That number (0.2%) might be more reflective of what you would expect if everyone were tested. Though, for many reasons, the national and statewide numbers would likely be closer to 1-3% if we actually tested every single person.
So you are right. The portion of statewide testing that goes to people that don’t need a test because they don’t have symptoms and they do no believe they have been exposed does bring down our statewide numbers, but it is highly unlikely that it cuts them in half. I don’t believe they categorize statewide numbers based on who needed the test due to symptom/exposure and who took one for other reasons (like having a doctors appointment, workplace requiring it, etc.).
And I’ll ask again – what numbers do you need to make sense of this? Your explanation is egregious and perhaps it would behoove you to speak with someone with more experience analyzing public health data (or any data for that matter).
Anyone CAN get tested. There are free events all the time, open to the public, as long as you register first. There was even one last week in High Point where you didn’t even have to register, but it would take them longer to register and process you.
They don’t want the general public to know about it, because there would be a lot less than the 5% coming back positive, and no one except you and Lizzy could justify Governor Dictator keeping the state closed forever.
Bryan, there are not enough tests, period, to test every single person in the state. There are not enough locations or providers to test every single person in the state. “Anyone” cannot get tested. Others that can’t get tested – “anyone” that works or needs to care for their children during the free testing times. “Anyone” that lacks transportation or internet/phone to register – except for those in the fine city of High Point that apparently have a registration free event (though as you admit, it requires someone who has more available time to get the test). “Anyone” that might fear losing their employment or source of income if they had a positive test.
I’m sure we could go on and on about this, but at the end of the day when you say “anyone” you mean any one single person probably is able to go get tested if they would like to. When I say “anyone” I mean that every single individual has easy access to a test just because they want one. Your system of “anyone” supports other ideas like “anyone can be a millionaire” – which simply is not practical, plausible, or even possible.
Finally, to get at your striking jab that I would justify never opening the state up again, you are utterly wrong. I mentioned nothing about opening or closing the state. I commented on the author’s misunderstanding and analysis of a very complex dataset. It seems a month ago, the talking point was “more tests are terrible because then we have more cases” and now you seem to be advocating for “everyone should get tested so we can see the low infection rate”. Which, I might add, we already know is around 1-3% of the total population.
You will notice in my original comment that I said unequivocally: “Is closing down classes the right decisions? I don’t know.” I am not commenting on what the state should do – just that the author should show more responsibility when publishing commentary about data analysis they do not fully understand.
Those are significant outbreaks at those schools and more like them are coming in the next few weeks.
What seems curious to me is that UNC-CH and NC State did not test students returning to campus before being allowed onto campus. For cases to begin to rise in under 2 weeks – and with what we have been told is a two week period for symptoms to develop, there must have been more than a few arrive with active COVID.
My second point is this – For the sake of argument, let’s assume that a significant portion of the student population (13% of 20,000 according to one data set), then they have essentially spread the virus to thousands of locations across the state and the country. Are they requiring all students to quarantine upon return home? Not that I have seen. This seems tremendously irresponsible to the residents outside of campus.