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Developing story: Duke plans new temporary restrictions on campus life

This is a developing story and will be updated if more information becomes available. 

Residence coordinators warned resident assistants on Saturday that Duke will announce new temporary restrictions on campus life, and residence life administration informed RAs that the initial plans for the new rules included a curfew, restrictions on what students can in Duke housing can leave their rooms to do, and restrictions on when off-campus students can come to campus. 

Residence life workers will meet Saturday evening to get more information, according to screenshots reviewed by The Chronicle of group messages from RCs to RAs. The messages do not contain information about specific restrictions Duke plans to put in place, and the University has not made an official announcement. 

“Hi all, just a heads up, there will be a shelter in place for the upcoming week. Further information to come from the department tonight with meetings to share information,” one residence coordinator wrote.

Students will receive information about the restrictions Saturday evening, wrote an RA, who was present at a Saturday evening meeting about the new restrictions, in a message to The Chronicle. 

Residence life administration told RAs at the meeting about their current plans for the restrictions, wrote the RA, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. Those plans may change before the official announcement, according to the RA. 

All classes will be remote this upcoming week, the RA wrote.

Duke currently plans to ask students in Duke-provided housing to stay in rooms except for specific reasons, like walking outside or getting food, the RA wrote. Off-campus students may only come to campus for specific purposes, which include getting food. 

The University also plans for the restrictions to include a curfew and a ban on students having guests in their rooms, the RA wrote. Students can gather outside in groups of up to three people. 

Duke may lift the new restrictions if cases go down this week, the RA wrote. 

Kitchens, common spaces and study rooms in at least some dorms will be closed at 6 p.m. Saturday “due to the high volume of covid positive cases,” wrote Kas Bryant, residence coordinator for Crowell and Wannamaker quads, in an email to residents of those quads. 

Leaked news of the restrictions spread across campus Saturday evening. 

Shortly before 7 p.m., the Bryan Center Plaza was filled with groups of people walking and grabbing final meals together. Inside the Bryan Center, the line to the Duke Lobby Shop was out the door. Some students were there to grab toilet paper, while others walked out with bags filled with snacks.

The warnings come three days after Duke announced that off-campus fraternity rush events had contributed to a huge spike in COVID-19 cases. After weeks in which cases remained low, 53 positive tests came back positive among students the week of March 1. 

Duke recorded 102 positive tests among undergraduates between March 5 and 9, administrators wrote in an email to students on Wednesday. 

Many of the cases are connected to students rushing organizations associated with the Durham Interfraternity Council, the newly formed governing body for fraternities that have disaffiliated from Duke, the administrators wrote. 

Durham IFC President Will Santee, a junior, had earlier told The Chronicle that no Durham IFC groups should hold in-person rush. Santee did not respond to a request for comment after the administration’s Wednesday email. 

Duke announced Thursday that its basketball season was over after a positive test among team personnel, though ESPN reported Saturday that the team could still play in the NCAA tournament if selected for an at-large bid or as a COVID-19 replacement team.

Duke’s football team paused activities on Tuesday due to a COVID-19 cluster within the program. 

Leah Boyd contributed reporting. 

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin is a Trinity senior and was editor-in-chief for The Chronicle's 116th volume.

Leah Boyd | Editor-in-Chief

Leah Boyd is a Pratt junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 117th volume.


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