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Big changes at UNC Charlotte for spring semester

The university welcomed students and faculty back into the classroom Monday with strict protocol in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Students and teachers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte returned to the classroom Monday as the university begins its spring semester with in-person instruction. 

UNCC officials said they are reopening with protocols in place to protect students and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Among those changes will be mandatory COVID-19 testing before anyone can step foot in a classroom. 

Monday marks the first time UNCC has held in-person classes since December

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Before returning to class, any student, staff member, or teacher who will be on campus must take a COVID-19 test and submit the results to the university.

The university is also implementing mitigation testing to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. Among those protocols: The school will pick students, staff, and faculty members at random for COVID-19 testing. Previously, only students living on campus qualified for the mitigation testing.

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A person could be selected multiple times throughout the semester and will be expected to respond to each notification they receive from the school. Any person who chooses to not take a mandatory test could face disciplinary action, although UNCC leadership has not specified what those punishments may be. 

Students and staff members will also be required to fill out a daily symptom screening form to self-report any COVID-19 symptoms. As an additional precaution, campus leadership said they will continue to test residency wastewater to check for any traces of the virus that causes COVID-19. 

RELATED: Universities undecided on return to in-person learning as UNC-Chapel Hill identifies a new COVID-19 cluster