Local UNC-Chapel Hill student speaks up about rise of COVID-19 cases on campus

North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WAVY) — A local college student is sharing her opinions on the rise of COVID-19 cases at her university’s campus.

Julia Finke graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk in May.

“It’s been a very strange year I’m sure for everyone but especially for the Class of 2020 heading into their first year of college. It’s all very strange,” she said.

Finke is now a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives on campus.

“I knew that I was, like, very fortunate to have that option because there was no way I was not going to go — because for everything that’s happened this year and everything that was lost, it kinda felt like I was getting something back in a way,” she said about her decision.

Finke says she was a little cautious to be in large groups, and while most students follow the mask mandates indoors, she says they don’t really do so while outside.

That’s why she’s not surprised to see the rise in COVID-19 cases or the school’s announcement to cancel all in-person undergraduate classes.

“I mean, we’ve been seeing things since we’ve gotten here, 40-plus people piling out of sorority houses without masks,” she said in reference to video captured of dozens of women seen leaving a home.

According to a statement put out by the university, the positivity rate from tests conducted jumped from 2.8 percent to 13.6 percent in a week. They’ve already tested nearly a thousand students, with 349 in quarantine and another 177 in isolation.

Finke says she was relieved when the school decided to switch to virtual learning.

Due to the rise in cases, some students have decided to move back home.

Other schools in the state have also reported an increase of cases such as North Carolina State University.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people to heed his mandates as schools open back up.

He also said he was considering whether or not to issue an additional executive order to make sure people comply.

“It is critical for the university and the towns that they’re in and the counties they’re in to enforce the safety guidelines,” he said.

The state’s Health and Human Services secretary has been talking with UNC system administrators about reducing the number of students in dorms.

Ultimately, Finke says responsibility falls on the university when it comes to the increase in cases.

“Students may not wear their masks and they might not wash their hands and might not social distance, but at the end of the day, the university was the big dog that was going to make the decision,” she said.

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