Duke University considers reinstating mask mandate as COVID-19 cases spike

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Mask mandate could return to Duke University
Duke University may bring back its mask mandate if COVID-19 levels remain high.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Duke University may bring back its mask mandate if COVID-19 levels remain high.

ABC11 obtained an email sent to students, faculty and staff Monday afternoon about the possibility of reinstating mask requirements on campus.

The emails said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had moved Durham County into the high risk classification for COVID-19. If that holds steady for two or more weeks, the university plans to reinstate the mask mandate.

Students who ABC11 spoke to Monday night didn't seem to worried about the possibility of a mask mandate. Of course some of them, like freshman Aissatou Diallo, are used to wearing masks during class.

"I did online for a year and then when I went back I had to wear a mask all year long," Diallo said.

"Yeah masks are annoying to wear but whatever. I feel like I don't know enough about it to say no masks or yes masks; I'm going to follow what other people are saying," freshman Gabby Gitman said.

"I'd be surprised if the mask mandate was brought back honestly. I think a very popular opinion is people hate masks and that they are such a hassle. I don't really have a problem with them," freshman Evelyn Wilson said.

Duke University is also providing PCR tests at two locations on campus. Rapid tests are also available at no charged with a DukeID at Duke Stores in the Bryan Center.

For now, anyone on campus with flu-like symptoms are asked to wear a mask when indoors or gathering with other people. In addition, Duke leaders urge everyone to get vaccincated against the flu and COVID-19.

The CDC's updated COVID-19 map shows many counties in North Carolina in the high risk category.

This comes as the much of the country is experiencing a similar surge.

High School districts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania already brought back mask requirements. Schools in Massachusetts and Michigan are expected to follow suit soon.