Students move back to Duke University with major COVID-19 changes

Posted August 7, 2020 5:10 a.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2020 6:22 a.m. EDT

— On Friday, students can start moving back to Duke University -- but the experience looks very different.

The usually happy occasion won’t be marked by groups of friends reuniting or entire families unpacking together. Instead, students will arrive during a certain time slot, and only a limited number of family members are able to help unpack.

When students arrive on campus, they will be given a thermometer and extra face coverings. Students living on campus will be required to take a COVID-19 test. If the test comes back positive, those students will move into a quarantine zone on campus.

Duke University students living on-campus will have to use the thermometer to report and track their symptoms in an app.

To prepare for the pandemic, campus officials have reduced dorm capacity reduced by 30%. They've also frozen undergraduate tuition payments and are working with families whose financial situations have changed during COVID-19.

All students and staff will be required to weak masks in public places on campus.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel told WRAL he believes Duke has a good system in place but that he is concerned about off-campus parties and gatherings.

The mayor met with N.C. Central University and Duke leaders and asked the universities to be vigilant in controlling those parties.

He also said Duke has created a hotline where people can call in and report students who are violating public health guidelines.

Schewel said he certainly expects to see a rise in cases from students’ return but also sees the need to return. He said both universities have “good plans in place" but commented that Duke has more resources than NCCU, so they will be able to do more, like testing all students.

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