Education

Universities in central NC finalizing spring semester plans

Posted October 6, 2020 7:48 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2020 9:17 p.m. EDT

— Universities in the Triangle are working to finalize their plans for the spring semester.

Duke University is considering expanding its initial housing plan, allowing all students to live on campus again. The university is cautiously optimistic when considering plans for the spring semester.

The university’s success in managing the spread of coronavirus is the main reason why it may allow all students to live in on-campus housing again.

Since August, Duke has completed 70,000 coronavirus tests and has cracked down on conduct violations.

“I don’t think at other schools this would have been possible, but Duke has somehow managed to not have a cluster and test its students so robustly that we’re kind of avoiding going back home,” said Anthony Salgado, a Duke freshman.

Salgado, who is from Atlanta, said he commends the university's response to the virus and its decision to allow only one student to live in each dorm room.

“I honestly don’t know how Duke has managed to allocate so much space for its students. It’s essentially double the amount of rooms that it had in the span of less than a year,” he added.

Now, juniors and seniors who request spring housing assignments will have first priority to join freshmen and sophomores on campus again, as long as the numbers continue to improve.

“Since many of them are already living off campus, the number that have indicated they would like to live on campus is much lower than we anticipated,” said Mike Schoenfeld, Duke’s chief communications officer.

He said that, because students are spread out among nearby apartments and Duke-leased hotels, they do not expect this to add to the density or population of people living on campus. The on-campus safety protocols would also remain the same.

“Likely, we will continue to have the same arrangements as this semester. Every student will have his or her own bedroom. Classes will continue to roughly be three-quarters online,” added Schoenfeld.

North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are also working to finalize their plans.

In a statement, N.C. State said “We plan to have reduced capacity on-campus housing and a mixture of in-person, hybrid and online classes available in the spring semester.”

UNC-Chapel Hill, with no decision yet, said “While there ultimately are a multitude of critical considerations to keep in mind, including the integrity of the academic calendar, nothing will be more important than the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community.”

According to Duke officials, its proposal to move students back in next semester has not been finalized. It all depends on how the rest of this semester plays out.

Duke students who plan to move onto campus or to move off campus are advised to update their housing status by Oct. 3.

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