Duke is lifting most elements of its stay-in-place order at 9 a.m. Sunday as planned, administrators wrote to undergraduates on Saturday. However, the University will require students in Duke housing to remain on campus until March 28 and largely bar off-campus students from campus grounds.
There has been a decline in undergraduate COVID-19 cases, allowing Duke to loosen restrictions, wrote Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president of student affairs; Gary Bennett, vice provost of undergraduate education; and Dean of Students John Blackshear in the email. But positive tests remain higher now than last semester and earlier this spring, they wrote, and “our data indicate that the virus is becoming more contagious.”
Starting 9 a.m. Sunday, in-person classes will resume and restrictions will be lifted on when on-campus students can leave their residences. Common spaces and libraries will reopen to undergraduates, but indoor dining will stay closed.
Although students in Duke-provided housing may move freely around campus, Duke asks that they stay on campus and only leave for “essential travel and wellness-related activities” until March 28. Students living off campus in Durham can only come to campus for class, other essential academic activities, surveillance testing and medical care, or to pick up to-go food orders.
The email does not include an end date for the restrictions on off-campus students’ campus access.
“Please remain vigilant and carefully follow the Duke Compact and additional public health guidance,” the administrators wrote. “We’ve heard you clearly that you want to successfully complete the semester and to support our seniors on their way to graduation. Given the collective effort we’ve seen from you this week, we know these goals are within reach.”
This is a developing story and will be updated if new information becomes available.