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Fayetteville State University delays semester start. Here’s what other colleges are doing.

Fayetteville State University student Shamya Brawner on move-in day August, 2020.
Liz Schlemmer
Fayetteville State University student Shamya Brawner on move-in day August, 2020.

Fayetteville State University has announced it will move the start of its spring semester back one week to allow time to conduct re-entry testing on-campus for all its students, faculty and staff.

"We wanted to make sure we didn't have a thousand people standing in line to get tested. We had to plan it in a way that we could execute effectively," said Fayetteville State University Chief of Staff Samantha Hargrove.

Fayetteville State is not the only university in the UNC System to change its spring calendar as a COVID-19 precaution. Elizabeth City State University and UNC-Pembroke have also delayed their semester starts until Jan. 18, and UNC Charlotte and UNC Asheville will begin their semesters with temporary remote instruction, UNC System spokeswoman Jane Stancill confirmed.

Colleges across North Carolina are gearing up for a new semester as COVID-19 cases surge to the highest numbers since the pandemic began.

Here are the precautions universities in WUNC's listening area have announced:

Duke University

Semester begins virtually Jan. 5.

Duke University announced Dec. 31 that it would require all courses to be held virtually until Jan. 18 due to an expected rise in COVID-19 cases following winter break. University officials cited the difficulty of teaching in-person classes while also accommodating virtual learning for students in isolation or quarantine as a major factor in the decision.

All Duke students must participate in entry testing before in-person classes begin and in the university’s regular surveillance testing program for asymptomatic individuals.

Elon University

Semester began Jan. 4.

All students at Elon University are required to receive a COVID–19 booster and submit documentation to the university by the end of January. Unvaccinated students, staff and faculty must participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Masking is required indoors on campus by all students, faculty and visitors.

Fayetteville State University

Semester delayed to Jan. 19.

Fayetteville State University is requiring all its students, faculty and staff to be tested before the semester begins, regardless of vaccination status. The university has delayed its semester start by one week to accommodate on-campus testing.

"We did not leave before the Christmas break thinking we were going to have to delay classes," Hargrove said. "That's a tough call, anytime there's an adjustment to the schedule."

Students will make up postponed days during their previously scheduled spring break.

Fayetteville State University is also suspending visitation in its dorms, pausing on-campus events and prohibiting spectators at its athletic events.

North Carolina A&T

Semester begins Jan. 10.

In-person classes will begin on schedule at NC A&T State University. Students living on campus are required to provide a negative COVID test result received within 72 hours of the time of their move-in. Students living off campus are also encouraged to get tested.

The university is prohibiting visitation in its residence halls in January, limiting dining services to takeout only and requiring proof of vaccination to attend sporting events.

North Carolina Central University

Semester begins Jan. 10.

Classes at NC Central University are scheduled to begin in person and on schedule. All residential students must get tested for COVID-19 as a requirement to gain access to housing. All other students must also participate in re-entry testing.

The university has updated its masking policy to require all faculty and students to wear K95 masks in classrooms rather than cloth masks. Students will be provided with K95 masks.

N.C. State University

Semester begins Jan. 10.

In-person classes will begin on schedule at N.C. State University. All unvaccinated faculty, staff and students are required to receive re-entry testing and weekly surveillance testing. Students who live in on-campus housing or in Greek Village must also be tested within 72 hours of returning to campus regardless of their vaccination status.

N.C. State is encouraging booster vaccinations and asking students, faculty and staff to share their updated vaccine records with the university.

UNC-Chapel Hill

Semester begins Jan. 10. 

Rather than shifting all classes to a remote schedule, deans of colleges at UNC-Chapel Hill have the discretion to approve virtual instruction for individual courses based on faculty requests.

UNC-Chapel Hill is requiring all unvaccinated students to get a PCR COVID-19 test 72 hours before returning to campus. Students who receive a positive result must wait five days to come to campus. Masking continues to be required in all public settings, including dorms.

UNC Greensboro

Semester begins Jan. 10 .

Classes at UNC Greensboro are scheduled to begin in person and on schedule. All students who live in residence halls must be tested for COVID-19 before moving in, regardless of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff must undergo regular surveillance testing. Face coverings continue to be required indoors or when 6-feet of distancing is not possible outdoors.

Liz Schlemmer is WUNC's Education Reporter, covering preschool through higher education. Email:
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