After the University of North Carolina opted last week to hold all undergraduate courses virtually, the university has seen 504 confirmed coronavirus cases since last Monday.
The school’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, first reported the significant outbreak.
In the last week, the school’s COVID-19 positivity rate increased to 31.3% of all COVID-19 tests. The week before, it was 13.6%. On week ending August 9, the COVID-19 positivity rate was 2.8%, which gave university officials some confidence that the university could safely reopen.
But as cases began to see an uptick last week, the university suspended all in-person learning for undergraduates just a week into the start of the semester. The university also encouraged on-campus residents to return home. The university said that just 15.1% of its main campus housing was being utilized as of Monday, down from 60.5% a week prior.
As a number of universities begin in-person learning, the surge of cases at UNC offers a cautionary tale of operating a major university amid the worst pandemic to hit the US in over a century. Joining UNC in suspending in-person learning last week was ACC rival Notre Dame.