North Carolina public universities aim for fall 2020 restart

Virus Outbreak North Carolina
Posted at 6:06 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 06:06:18-04

The leader of North Carolina’s public university system says he plans to reopen campuses in the fall with precautions against COVID-19.

University of North Carolina System Interim President Dr. Bill Roper issued an announcement Wednesday that he expects to reopen classrooms across the system’s 17 public campuses for the fall semester, though with some limitations or modifications, as long as virus trends don’t deteriorate.

Meanwhile, a county near Charlotte issued a symbolic order urging the governor to ease statewide business restrictions, while acknowledging its residents are still subject to the governor’s stay-home order meant to fight the virus outbreak.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-home order remains in effect through May 8 and will be followed by a multi-phased plan to ease restrictions on businesses.

In opposition to Cooper’s plan, the Gaston County Commission issued a “reopening order” saying businesses there are ready to restart, even though no such reopenings can outpace the governor’s plan, the Daily Journal reported. The document makes clear that county businesses and residents must still obey Cooper’s order. The county’s gesture was symbolically taking effect Wednesday.

A state tally shows Gaston County has had about 140 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and three deaths. The county of about 224,000 people lies west of Charlotte along the South Carolina state line.

Ford Porter, a spokesman for Cooper, issued a statement emphasizing that the local order acknowledges that residents must continue to follow the statewide restrictions.

“This order’s only effect is to create confusion during a public health emergency, which is dangerous,” Porter said. “The Gaston County order itself says that the statewide Stay At Home order remains in effect, and state leaders urge people to continue following it.”