What will it really take for the UNC School system to value students’ health over profit? With as much as we are paying in tuition, you would think we could at least be provided with a safe environment to learn in. Truthfully, the only acceptable amount of COVID-19 cases is none. While it may be unrealistic to have no COVID-19 cases, there is no real way you can say that having 1,000+ positive cases on campuses is acceptable. 

As of 4:57 PM on Jan. 14, 2022: NC State has reported 1,889 positive cases since Jan. 4. UNC-CH has reported 1,143 positive cases since Jan 4. ECU has reported 1,374 positive cases since Jan. 4. NCAT has reported 525 positive cases since Jan. 4. UNCC has reported 858 positive cases since Jan. 4. These are just a few of the schools in the UNC School System. 

Some institutions within the system don’t even have accurate COVID tracking dashboards or haven’t updated them since December. A lot of these campuses are running out of resources– they don’t have enough tests to administer to students or the infrastructure to get results back quickly enough. Schools like UNC-CH have stopped testing asymptomatic students who are unvaccinated, saying “But I will tell you that many, many healthcare systems, including our own here at UNC, have completely stopped asymptomatic testing because of the lack of safety and security and supply chain for testing supports.” 

Even with all of these individual campuses’ problems, they essentially aren’t allowed to act on their own or do what is best for the respective campuses. During the NC State’s faculty senate meeting the Provost said “we are a part of a system, and we have no autonomy to make choices that diverge from what the UNC System has been pressured to do… We will keep the dashboard with case counts, for now. But frankly, the UNC System isn’t interested in the numbers. They are no longer relevant.” Hearing things like this is the furthest thing from encouraging. What will it possibly take for them to be “interested” in the wellbeing of the thousands of students on these 17 campuses? 

The Provost’s response raises very important questions and concerns – who is pressuring the UNC system to neglect their students? Who is pressuring the UNC system to expose thousands upon thousands of people to COVID-19? Who is pressuring the UNC system to not listen to the voices and opinions of their students on the various campuses? How can some schools move online for two weeks while others are saying that they cannot? 

As a student, I am tired. I’m tired of begging people to care about me. I’m tired of having to pressure people into doing their jobs, jobs that they are literally getting paid to do. I’m tired of the lies. You don’t have to pretend to care about us. You don’t have to make meaningless videos about how you want to protect your student body. You don’t have to send out newsletters filled with oxymorons and irrelevant information. 

At this point, just take my money and shut the hell up. The numbers don’t lie. The omicron variant is highly contagious and you all are letting it run rampant through 17 different campuses. You have run out of quarantine rooms and are sending students home to infect their families and communities. You aren’t testing folks and you’re sticking them back in classrooms. You say you are doing everything that you can but numbers don’t lie. UNC System please do better. Please protect your students before it’s too late.