Well, that was quick

UNC opened for in-person instruction just one week ago; they have announced now that they are switching to entirely online instruction.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the largest schools in the country to bring students to campus for in-person teaching, said Monday it will pivot to all-remote instruction for undergraduates after testing showed a pattern of rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.

Officials announced the abrupt change just a week after classes began at the 30,000-student state flagship university.

They said 177 cases of the dangerous pathogen had been confirmed among students, out of hundreds tested. Another 349 students were in quarantine, on and off campus, because of possible exposure to the virus, they said.

What kind of magical, miraculous prophet could have foreseen such an outcome?

I mean, even with that example right in front of our face, no one could possibly predict that all the other universities that are the process of opening up might anticipate a similar result.

I really hope none of those students comes down with a serious case of COVID-19 with long-term consequences. Is UNC prepared to handle the moral and economic effects of that?

Hey, is the University of Minnesota ready?

An appropriate response from the UNC student paper.


  1. raven says

    What kind of magical, miraculous prophet could have foreseen such an outcome?

    raven this morning

    At this point, all that is left is for UM, Morris to have a plan in place to detect and deal with the inevitable outbreak clusters of Covid-19 cases.

    A prophet but not exactly a magical one.
    I’m sure a few million people have already figured this out.

    So how is the UM, Morris testing program working right now?
    You are testing the incoming students, aren’t you?

  2. robro says

    My psychic gifts remain unparalleled.

    I read this morning that some of those cases are considered serious. Now of course the students go back home to share the virus with their families.

  3. consciousness razor says

    I mean, even with that example right in front of our face, no one could possibly predict that all the other universities that are the process of opening up might anticipate a similar result.

    That’s obviously why they prepare liability waivers for everyone to sign.

    In the case of UNC (and others in the state[1]), it looks to me[2] like maybe they didn’t need to bother with their own document…. Their state government made a law granting immunity just for this purpose, since none of them could possibly have predicted such outcomes and wanted to protect valuable “persons”[3] from precisely those things they didn’t anticipate, and particularly from the vile “Hu-Mans” who have a perverse desire to survive rather than “boost the economy.”

    I mean, really, how were they supposed to know? They’re not magicians, after all, just sociopaths.

    [1] A definition from the bill: “Person. — An individual; corporation; nonprofit corporation; business trust; estate; trust; partnership; limited liability company; sole proprietorship; association; joint venture; government; governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation; or any other legal entity.”
    [2] Not a lawyer.
    [3] See note [1] above, but omit individuals.

  4. wzrd1 says

    Utterly unpredictable, because unlike every other similar case, those cases were with other people, not our special people, who never could become exposed because of magical handwave.
    Who knew?! Totally beyond belief! After all, only humans are supposed to get this virus! Well, humans, mink, felines, canines, primates, birds and bats, but who knew?

    Who educated the educators? Sister Mary’s House of Magical non-thinking?! Or maybe, Papa John…
    But, they’re immune, right until a court finds the statute not worthy of the parchment it was scrawled upon.

    Meanwhile, a couple are suing New York over “arbitrary attendance sizes” to a wedding, compared to a restaurant, the court finding that restaurants can have similar and be under the emergency order’s numbers, while not bothering to note that people going to a restaurant don’t tend to go table to table socializing… And the first amendment religious right to spew a lethal virus to one and all, to distribute across the land is an inalienable right.
    American Exceptionalism, or as I call it, short bus exceptionalism. No wonder record numbers of dual citizenship people are giving up their US citizenship, US citizenship is apparently a suicide pact now.

  5. unclefrogy says

    it is a sad fact that those who deserve to get it do not (as yet). We have lots of test we test so much we should test less cause it makes us look bad. Of course they and everyone who comes close to them get tested all the time and before you are ushered in to the “presence” you have to be cleared. why you would need to is hard to understand it is not like he does much and he gets all his information from his great brain and the TV. maybe ass kissing is better in person
    kids in schools meh!
    uncle frogy

  6. kome says

    Do students have any grounds to sue the school/administration for recklessly putting the students’ lives at risk? Is that maybe something we should be putting out there as an idea, if for no other reason than it might convince administrators to fucking not resume in-person instruction until we’re through with this pandemic?

  7. komarov says

    Remember that according to a very authorative source everything would have been Perfectly Fine (TM) if only those students hadn’t been tested. Zero cases, normal operations.

    Re: wzrd1 (#7):

    Speaking of sources, why would people give up their dual citizenship? That sounds a bit strange, can you provide a link or something? While not the original intention behind dual citizenship, it would seem the perfect way of overwintering this total disaster in Not-US and returning to the US post-Trump/Corona/Apocalypse without fussing over visas.

  8. blf says

    @10 & @7, Opinion column in the Grauniad, How Donald Trump is driving Americans to renounce their citizenship (“The US president’s [sic] mishandling of the coronavirus crisis has helped cause a 1,200% increase in people abandoning their US citizenship this year”), which references the CNN article, A record number of people are giving up their US citizenship, according to new research. Here’s why.

    Neither specifically mentions dual-nationals, albeit giving up one citizenship without having another makes one a “stateless person”, which is rarely-to-never a good position to be in. One compelling reason for USAlien dual nationals to give up their USAlien citizenship is to be free of the USAlien’s onerous tax requirements (a point explained in both links). As a dual national myself who is retaining his USAlien citizenship but has not lived in the States since long ago in the last millennium, “onerous” is an under-statement.

  9. tacitus says

    @11: I’m a British ex-pat who’s lived in Texas for over 20 years, and this past couple of months is the first time I’ve serious considered moving back to the UK full time. If Trump is somehow re-elected, there’s a good chance I’ll be out of here. Sad that the prospect of living in post-Brexit Tory Britain is that much better than living in a second term Trumpian dystopia.

    The tax issue is one of the main reasons I never became an American citizen. Other than voting, there’s not enough upside to counter the prospect of having to report my financial affairs to the IRS and US Treasury Dept for the rest of my life wherever I end up. They already get an annual update on all my British accounts, including max amounts, addresses, and account numbers. I had to refuse power of attorney over my parents’ accounts otherwise I would have to include all of them too.

    For me, it’s really about the additional paperwork and disclosure requirements. I don’t have or earn enough money to be materially affected if I became a US-expat, though there’s always a chance of running afoul of US tax regulations, like when the IRS came after Boris Johnson for their cut of the capital gains on the sale of his house a few years ago. Yes, he was born in New York, and though his family moved back to the UK when he was a small child, he had never renounced his natural born US citizenship, so the IRS came a-calling, 50 years later. Ironic that both countries are being governed by New York blowhards.

    The son of a close friend of mine has given up on the US this year. The family moved to the US about 35 years ago and aside from his son, they all became American citizens. Still on a Green Card thirty years later, early this year the son declared he’d finally had enough and left the country to travel in the Far East (before the pandemic hit). Now that he’s been out of the country for more than six months, his Green Card his null and void, and he won’t be allowed back in without a visa. He has lost all residency rights. I don’t believe he cares.

  10. G Pierce says

    I don’t understand what is driving these decisions. Denial? Desperation that maybe they can not go bankrupt if luck is on their side? It seems like a lot of money is at risk if you spend all this money on testing, plexiglass, single student dorm rooms, and all that then you have to shut down again after a couple weeks instead of just cutting your losses early on.
    Some schools will have quarantine dorms. I feel like if you have to have something like that, maybe that should be sign.

    This is aside from the damage being done to local communities through more community spread.

  11. says

    @G Pierce:

    What makes it all the more ridiculous is that most recognizably-big-name colleges, these days, have massive endowment funds which were created specifically to tide the school over in the event of a catastrophic but temporary event. Some of the tiniest schools have ludicrously oversized endowments, and some of the big names (Harvard in particular comes to mind) are basically a massive endowment fund with a school attached. But here we are at a temporary catastrophe and most schools are screeching about how the downturn is going to prevent them from enlarging their endowments.

    UNC’s endowment, according to a quick Google search, is $5.01 billion. As of last year, again according to Google, they employed 13,029 people. Now, suppose that they shut down completely and took in no tuition fees at all for the duration of the epidemic — no distance learning or anything, just send everyone home and keep mailing them paychecks — and that the epidemic lasts a whole 5 years, and that all of those employees were kept on the payroll at an annual salary of $50k apiece (much more than most of them are getting but it’s an easy number to calculate with). If you do the math, they still wouldn’t get ⅔ of the way through that endowment fund. You can bet that even if they do nothing but online classes, though, they’ll still be taking in tuition (and a whole host of other funding from grants and things).

  12. wzrd1 says

    @komarov, here you go.
    Some, for tax reasons, quite a few for COVID-19 and overall environment, socially speaking reasons.
    At least, that was the analysis from one non-Forbes story I reviewed and cannot precisely recall the publisher of, but they did provide citations with their article. Gleaned from a news list that an epidemiologist friend shares from a couple of days ago.

    @tacitus, I can’t blame you, honestly. Still, we do manage to usually correct from abhorrent behavior and usually, fairly rapidly.
    As for BREXIT, given the well documented, now public domain proof that Russia pushed that nonsense hard, a new referendum would be a way for Johnson to both save face and nation. And of course, refracting future Russian efforts, BREXIT would simply go away as not in the average citizen’s interests.

    @G Pierce, it’s more than “a couple of weeks”, as the median tends for successful shutdowns to be 3 – 4 weeks minimum, then glacial reopening, rather than the US sprint reopening and wondering why a week or two after shutdown of modest levels, the infections spike when globally reopening everything in sight. In the US, we have to “idiot proof” things, as we have long known that our leaders are idiots. They can’t lead, they can’t follow and they’re incapable of getting the hell out of the way.
    Foolproof is utterly impossible, as in my own experience, fools are far too ingenious in a foolish way.
    Case in point, Trump’s insistence on college sports beginning now or else.

  13. komarov says

    Thank you for the replies. I had no idea – or indeed thought about – that the US charges membership fees even when you’re not using the club house. So that certainly is a good reason, although being charged to leave – over 2k$, no less – makes it sound even more like a racket. To opt out of America (TM) Brand Taxation (C) powered by your non-local IRS (R) branch, please enter your credit card details now. You will be able to review the transaction again before it is completed…
    The “environment” as you put it, wzrd, is a good reason to get out, too. Money aside, from a strategic perspective one might still hang on to that citizenship – the option to return – in case things improve. But at this point that’d require a lifespan measured in centuries and a number of other, even less likely miracles. And I, being famously indecisive, would spend the entire time hopping from one leg to the other wondering if I should still quit.

  14. charlesanthony says

    The schools are like penguins on an ice floe, pushing each other until one falls in … there goes UNC … nope, not safe to go in the water.