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Duke officially cancels 'residential activities' for semester, students not able to retrieve belongings from dorms

Bryan Center Plaza on Thursday, March 12 around 1:30 p.m.
Bryan Center Plaza on Thursday, March 12 around 1:30 p.m.

Duke has made a significant change from yesterday's on-campus housing announcement.

University administrators advised for "as many students as possible" to leave university campus housing as soon as they can and discontinued "residential activities" for the rest of the semester, due to developing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

After more than 2,000 students submitted requests through a housing registration form to access or stay in the dorms, only students on campus for "personal safety and health" reasons are allowed to stay in dorms, according to an email sent by Provost Sally Kornbluth, Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost/vice president for student affairs, and Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education, Thursday night. Duke's Keep Learning team will decide which of those students will be able to remain on campus after they review each request.

"If we do not receive a survey from you by 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, we will assume that you are not on campus and do not plan to return and will inactivate access to your residential facilities," the email reads.

Students who wish to gather their belongings from their dorms by March 22 will not be able to, which is a change from what McMahon and Bennett told students yesterday. This adjustment was made for "individual and broader campus safety" due to "rapid change of circumstances and the advisement of health officials," according to the email.

Duke’s new plan that’s in the works is to ship students' necessary personal items "for continued learning and safety” from their dorms. The University officials provided the examples of "current academic materials required for remote learning, laptops, medical supplies and certain items required for self-care."

"We will advise all students with campus housing on next steps, including retrieval of belongings, early next week," the email reads.

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