Chancellor Martin hosts virtual back-to-school press conference


Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. held his annual back-to-school press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 19. During the conference, he detailed the university’s COVID-19 protocols, economic impact, and it’s standings as the largest public HBCU for the seventh consecutive year.

“Very strict protocols are put in place,” Martin said in regards to how the university plans to hold in-person instruction on campus.

Since March, deep cleaning, extensive signage and the acquisition of more than a million masks have been distributed as well as other PPE items including supplies for sanitization.

In March, N.C. A&T launched a partnership with Cone Health. Due to this partnership, the school is able to have coronavirus testing at the Student Health Center.

In addition, Haley Hall, which can accommodate nearly 100 students, is being used as a quarantine area for students that display symptoms of COVID-19 and must go into isolation.

The following guidelines also include:

  • Masks/face coverings in all campus areas, classrooms, and open offices
  • Social distance stickers that mark to 6 feet
  • Additional washing/sanitizing stations in restrooms and workspaces throughout campus

Any additional COVID-19 information can be found on the university’s implementation of guidelines during this time is on their ‘Aggies Care’ website. N.C. A&T has also launched its COVID-19 dashboard, following the press conference. There have been 27 cases of the novel coronavirus on campus since July 1. In the last two weeks (from Aug. 6-20), five students and one employee have tested positive for COVID-19. The website was last updated on August 18.

With the recent announcement of UNC-Chapel Hill deciding to return back to complete distance learning, questions on how Chancellor Martin plans to deal with increasing cases and what will take place if the school needed to shut down.

“As cases increase, we have decided as a whole [chancellors] to see where our benchmark/capacity is for quarantine housing,” Martin said. “If we hit certain thresholds, then we may move to online learning instruction such as UNC-Chapel Hill.”

When asked about Greek Life and their impact on campus, the chancellor stated that the fraternities and sororities have been complying with the COVID-19 guidelines. “We work closely with the Divine Nine student chapters and they have all agreed to minimize social events and engage in virtual events instead,” Martin said. “Our fraternities and sororities do not have greek housing, therefore, it limits social gatherings compared to UNC-Chapel Hill’s situation.”

In response to the recent incidents where students were gathering on campus, Martin stated that repetitive offenders will face consequences such as being suspended from the university. The school is focused on repetitive communication to remind students to not socialize and to take necessary precautions to keep the campus community safe.

N.C. A&T’s enrollment growth since 2010. (Created by Jamille Whitlow)

Despite the odds, N.C. A&T continues to be a crucial benefactor for the Piedmont Triad area; the school has localized resources and strategies to grow more jobs in the area. Here are the following statistics that support the school’s impact and its community:

  • 409 million dollars in labor income
  • 1.5 billion dollar impact (concentrated mainly in Guilford County)
  • Median starting graduate salary of $54,600
  • 16% change in enrollment over the last ten years
  • 33 % of the school’s students are off campus

For more information about A&T’s financial footprint and their record impact statewide, click here