Students returned to Livingstone College earlier this month for the start of the fall semester. Photo: QCity Metro

College is back in session with plans to combat the spread of Covid-19 on their campuses. We checked in with Livingstone College and UNC Charlotte for the latest updates.

Livingstone College, an HBCU in Salisbury, reopened campus on Sept. 4 to new students moving into residence halls for the start of the fall semester. No positive Covid-19 cases have emerged so far, says Anthony Davis, Livingstone’s senior vice president for institutional advancement and chief operating officer. 

“Right now, everything is operating according to design,” he told me during a school tour last week. “All we can do now is hope for the best and manage our protocols.”

Davis said the school currently has close to 700 or 800 students on campus. Each student received five reusable Livingstone-branded masks as health protocols call for mask-wearing while on campus. The college has created a compliance team that patrols campus on golf carts reminding students to put their masks on.

Hand sanitizer stations painted blue, Livingstone’s school color, can be found around campus to go along with handwashing recommendations. 

Hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the campus at Livingstone College. Photo: QCity Metro

Livingstone’s Covid-19 protocols also include daily temperature screenings. Officials distribute lanyards with a “color of the day” sticker signaling whether or not a student’s temperature was checked that day. 

“That’s how we’re monitoring and managing our protocols here on the campus of Livingstone College,” Davis said. “That’s how we’re beating Covid-19.”

Administrators will retest the entire population again next month to spot any changes or asymptomatic spreaders. 

Student reactions

Erika Praileau, the 91st Miss Livingstone College, said students had to get used to the new normal. 

“It’s been a little challenging enforcing social distancing, but everyone has been doing good with mask regulations,” the senior said.

Freshman Jalen Robinson feels safe being on campus. He expected everyone to be wearing masks and social distancing before school started. 

Student Government President Carlee Patterson said not attending in-person classes every day has been the biggest adjustment. She expects the campus to remain virus-free if students continue following protocols and school officials remain vigilant in combating the spread of Covid-19. 

Pictured left to right: Student Government President Carlee Patterson, freshman student Jalen Robinson and Erika Praileau, Miss Livingstone College. Photo: QCity Metro

All eyes on UNCC 

After delaying in-person instruction for three weeks, select UNC Charlotte students will be returning to classrooms on Oct. 1. New chancellor Sharon Gaber is excited to welcome students back to campus so she can meet them face-to-face.

“As we return to campus, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority,” she said in a message on Sept. 22.

Students are required to wear face coverings on campus, follow social distancing guidelines and complete the daily health assessment, Niner Health Checks. Additional safety measures include:

  • a flu shot requirement for all faculty, staff and students
  • reduced capacity in residence halls, limiting one person per room
  • dedicated on-site testing and contact tracing
  • sampling and monitoring wastewater
  • limiting gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors

UNCC also announced that students will move to remote learning following the Thanksgiving break, including the delivery of all exams.

“I am not naive enough to say we will not get cases,” Gaber said. “We want to be able to manage them.” 

The return to campus comes as Mecklenburg County sees declining Covid-19 infection rates. School officials are hoping to avoid last month’s statewide spike in positive cases that coincided with some colleges and universities starting fully in person.

“We continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our campus community, and we are committed to providing a rich learning environment,” Gaber said. “We recognize how critical in-person instruction, hands-on learning and activities with friends and peers are to creating a well-rounded student experience.”

Jonathan is a former QCity Metro reporter who covered Charlotte neighborhoods north of uptown. He also reported on education, public safety and health.

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