They all saw it coming. 
Or so read the editorial from the student journalists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who delivered a scathing condemnation of administrators' refusal to heed instructors' and health officials' warnings that reopening the campus this fall would undoubtedly facilitate the spread of the coronavirus. 
Warning signs abounded long before the state's flagship resumed in-person classes on Aug. 10, being one of the first U.S. colleges to do so before abruptly flipping to online courses this week.
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In early July, the number of new cases the county health department identified reached record highs of 38 per day. The stunning increase was particularly acute among people in the typical college age range, and some student-athletes and sports staff were testing positive for the virus before the academic year began. Reports of bar activity and parties near the UNC-Chapel Hill campus were rampant, prompting rebukes from school officials.
The aforementioned trends culminated in the health department last month imploring the university to start the year online and reevaluate the possibility of face-to-face classes after five weeks. 
UNC-Chapel Hill didn't take that advice. Local media reported that Provost Bob Blouin said he felt administrators were addressing the department's concerns "in spirit."
Faculty pushed back too. In an extraordinary public knock against their university's approach, 30 tenured professors wrote a newspaper op-ed last month entreating students to remain home if they were able. 
Their concerns were well-founded. In the first week of classes, UNC-Chapel Hill detected at least 130 positive coronavirus cases among students and five among employees. Because asymptomatic people can spread the pathogen and UNC-Chapel Hill is not testing widely for it, the figures are almost assuredly an undercount. 
So most everyone on the Chapel Hill campus — and those outside of it — had reason to predict what was coming. 
And yet university executives pressed forward, until Aug. 17, when they announced that the spike of positive cases on campus would force them to pivot classes online.