UNC freshman from Virginia scrambles for place to live after COVID-19 cluster on campus

Posted at 1:22 PM, Aug 21, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Two weeks ago Julia Finke and her parents took great pride in decorating her new dorm room inside Lewis Hall on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.

"We moved her in and we were so happy for her," said Dawn Peters, Julia's mother.

But a week later the family from Norfolk, were abruptly told that all undergraduate classes would go remote at the 30,000 student -state flagship university. Julia was told by housing that she needed to swiftly move off campus or move home.

"Just to have it cut short its hard to process, it is hard to put into words," said 18 year old Dramatic Arts major Julia Finke.

As of Monday UNC said 130 students tested positive for COVID-19, more than 170 were in isolation and close to 350 were in quarantine. UNC reported COVID-19 clusters over three days in dorms, apartments and a fraternity house.

"There are a lot of people from Orange County, where the school is and school themselves saying we need to go home," said Finke. "But you know after the crap they pulled with us, I am not interested in what is best for them."

UNC-Chapel Hill is the first college in the nation to send students home from school after already settling in. However, Julia is not coming back to Norfolk.

"Julia deserves her college experience," said Peters. "She had to graduate virtual, she had no prom, no graduation ceremony, they have had a lot ripped out from them, and we even had a family member die of COVID, its been a horrible year for her."

Julia will move in the coming days to an off campus apartment with friends she has made in the last two weeks.

"I had been living alone in my house with my parents for 6 months," said Julia. "If I go back home there is no way to stay focused and keep up with classes, I will be safe hunkered down here."

Julia and her mother believe the university failed them safety wise, not testing for the virus before letting students back on campus.

"We expected the university to take care of us and do what is best for us, but it doesn't feel like that right now," said Julia.

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