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Duke sets new campus restrictions after rise in COVID cases among vaccinated students

By Kate Murphy | 31 August 2021

THE NEWS & OBSERVER — Duke University has set new restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as cases are rising on the Durham campus despite its vaccine mandate.

In the first week of classes, 304 undergraduates, 45 graduate students and 15 employees tested positive for COVID-19. All but eight of these individuals were vaccinated, and the vast majority of them are asymptomatic. A small number have minor, cold- and flu-like symptoms, and none have been hospitalized, according to the university.

Duke administrators announced the new guidelines in an email saying “this surge is placing significant stress on the people, systems and facilities that are dedicated to protecting our health, safety and the ability of Duke to fulfill its educational mission, particularly our isolation space for on-campus students who test positive.”

The rules include:

▪ Masks are required on the Duke campus in all indoor and outdoor locations, unless individuals are exercising alone, eating or drinking, or otherwise not around others.

▪ Indoor group seating at campus dining facilities is temporarily suspended. Students and employees have also been advised to eat outdoors as much as possible.

▪ Professors can teach their undergraduate classes remotely for the next two weeks. (This option is due to absences from the number of students in isolation, not spread in classrooms.)

▪ Student activities will be limited. […]

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