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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

UNC System Cancels In-Person Classes, Hospitals Restrict Visitor Access To Avoid Coronavirus

UNC System schools, including UNC Charlotte, announce they will only hold virtual classes after March 23rd
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UNC System schools, including UNC Charlotte, announce they will only hold virtual classes after March 23rd

In the wake of a growing number of cases of the coronavirus, Charlotte-area universities are reevaluating their class schedules, and hospital systems are adding new rules to prevent the introduction of the virus at their facilities.

Schools such as Harvard, UCLA, and Duke had already canceled classes before Wednesday’s meeting of UNC system administrators. After the meeting, administrators announced all schools, including UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte, would only hold virtual classes starting March 23, and that would continue for the foreseeable future.

Davidson College announced on March 10 it would not cancel classes or switch to virtual classes. However, the college said it would train faculty on using video conferencing software to be ready if plans changed in the future.

Davidson also canceled all international travel by students and faculty for the spring semester.

A spokesperson for Central Piedmont Community College said the school is considering restrictions on college-related international travel. If implemented, those restrictions would likely prevent faculty and students from visiting countries most affected by coronavirus, like China, Italy and South Korea. Central Piedmont may also decide to restrict travel funded by the college within the U.S.

The University of South Carolina said in its announcement that it had canceled classes at its Columbia campus for a week, from March 16-22. The school will only hold virtual classes after that, until at least April 3. USC’s campus will remain open, but the university encouraged students not to return before April 3. The state of South Carolina has ten cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. North Carolina has seven cases: six in Wake County near Raleigh and one in Chatham County.

Meanwhile, Atrium Health, Novant Health, and four other regional health systems announced Wednesday they will now restrict visitor access to all of their in-patient facilities. Only people above the age of 13 who are immediate family members of patients can visit those facilities. People of any age who show signs of the flu, like a fever or shortness of breath, also will not be allowed to visit.