Duke University announces changes to dining rules as COVID-19 cases rise

Posted August 11, 2021 7:14 a.m. EDT

— Duke is the only major university in the area to require both vaccinations and face masks for students. Now, Duke leaders are also tightening rules inside dining halls.

The university sent an email to students, faculty and staff this week encouraging people to eat outdoors when dining with a group. To encourage outdoor eating, Duke has installed tent-covered picnic tables across campus to provide shade.

Furthermore, food should not be served or provided at indoor events, including meetings and conferences, unless an outdoor dining option is available, Duke said. People should wear masks at all times they are not actively eating or drinking.

If you must dine indoors, limit four people to a table, Duke encouraged, and keep meals with others short.

Duke said the new dining guidance will be in effect until further notice and once again encouraged everyone to get vaccinated -- a requirement this year for all students, faculty and staff.

North Carolina Central University has also required vaccines, but only for staff. Effective Aug. 23, all staff on campus must be vaccinated or be tested weekly. Face coverings are also now required indoors on campus for all.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill already has an indoor mask requirement, and North Carolina State University officials said they plan to enforce one during the fall semester.

Duke continues to be the strictest university in the area for its COVID-19 procedures. During the height of the pandemic, Duke University became an example for health and safety guidelines due to their low COVID-19 transmission rate on campus.

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