CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — For about 10 days, things felt like they were back to normal for Jim Kitchen’s frozen yogurt shop on Chapel Hill’s main drag, a quick walk from the University of North Carolina’s main campus. Lines ran around the block as thousands of students buzzed along Franklin Street, the historic thoroughfare lined with bars, restaurants, coffee shops and music stores. The energy was short lived.

Kitchen, also a professor of entrepreneurship at the university, said the campus was akin to a ghost town when he walked the grounds this week, just days after the university sent students packing due to a flurry of coronavirus outbreaks. Gone were thousands of students who sustain his business, Yogurt Pump, and the other mom-and-pop shops in the area.

Chapel Hill exemplifies the disruption college towns are experiencing because of the pandemic. Foot traffic in many locations has evaporated, throwing everything

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  • Polling shows that young voters are energized about the 2020 elections and overwhelmingly support Biden.
  • But with many college campuses locked down due to COVID-19, and the Postal Service warning of delays in delivering mail-in ballots, getting them to vote is harder than ever.
  • Students have become a moving target for the presidential campaigns as they race for the digital tools to lure this young but often unreliable demographic in an unusual election year.
  • A student’s cellphone number is the most valuable piece of data in this fight for votes. NextGen America, a youth voting PAC, has developed texting protocols that walk people through registration and remind them to vote.
  • Biden’s youth vote director said the campaign is trying to figure out the ‘digital spaces’ students are congregating in and find a way to saturate them like it would physical gathering places.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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