DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Only first-year and sophomore students at Duke University will be allowed to live in student housing to combat the spread of COVID-19 as it reopens for the 2020 Fall semester.
"We have made the decision to reduce the undergraduate residential population by about 30 percent in order to decrease the density on campus," Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth wrote in an email to faculty members.
Duke officials cited North Carolina and Durham County's COVID-19 trend in the "wrong direction"
Under the plan, campus housing would be limited to first-year students, sophomores and students who have personal or academic circumstances that would require them to remain on campus.
If the coronavirus pandemic were to remain the same, juniors and seniors would receive priority selection for spring semester housing.
With the new changes, Duke officials say "a significant number" of juniors and seniors have already made arrangements to live off-campus in Durham. Those students would still be open to academic amenities such as libraries and laboratories.
Off-campus students would be unable to access residence halls, dining areas or social spaces.
"Indeed, at this time, the large majority of our faculty have elected to teach remotely," Kornbluth wrote. Graduate and professional schools are also reviewing their plans and the deans will be communicating directly with faculty and students about any changes."
Kornbluth says another announcement will be made Monday to the Duke community which will include more details on residential life, community expectation and academic policies.