The Pandemic's Sweeping Impact On North Carolina Schools

Mar 13, 2020

Credit Brian Batista / For WUNC

How the spread of coronavirus, and the mitigation efforts to control it, are impacting some schools in North Carolina.

School Districts

Durham Public Schools will close starting on Monday as a measure to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Guilford County Schools will not close schools in the midst of the growing concerns over the coronavirus. During an emergency school board meeting, Superintendent Sharon Contreras said they are following what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend and not necessarily following the lead of other school districts. 

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district has decided to suspend classes starting Monday and have students learn from home when spring break ends on March 30.

Following the Governor's declaration of a state of emergency over coronavirus, Cumberland County schools in Eastern North Carolina has canceled all out of state, and out of district field trips and employee-related travel. 

Wake County Public Schools announced a similar decision Tuesday.

Colleges And Universities 

To mitigate spread of the coronavirus, Duke University has suspended on-campus labs and classes until further notice. Duke announced three of its students who were traveling with a group overseas have tested positive for the coronavirus. The university says the students are receiving treatment outside the U.S. and will remain overseas until they have recovered.

Along with an increasing number of campuses in North Carolina and across the country, every university in the UNC System will be conducting classes online starting March 28th to prevent spread of the coronavirus.  

"This is not about protecting the health of students on our campuses," said UNC System interim President Bill Roper. "Rather it is trying to prevent them bringing the virus to a university campus and then accelerating the transmission because grouping of students, and then they're going out and exposing lots of other people."

Community Colleges

Decisions about academics and campus operations at the state's 58 community colleges are made at each individual school.

Wake Tech is suspending campus activities and conducting courses online until at least April 5.

Alamance Community College is extending its spring break through March 20th and plans to begin providing lessons online starting March 23rd. A press release from Alamance Community College said staff and faculty are expected to report to campus on Monday.

A spokesperson with the North Carolina Community Colleges office says system officials know of 23 colleges that are extending spring break and/or moving largely to online classes in response to concerns about COVID-19.