Some universities to allow students to stay on campus through the holidays

As COVID-19 cases soar across the country and here in North Carolina, some Triangle universities are keeping their doors open for students who do not want to travel for the holidays.

"Not everybody can easily go home," said Allan Blattner, executive director of housing at UNC-Chapel Hill. The university estimates 300 students will remain on campus for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

That's about 20 percent of their student housing population.

Some of the students are international, or have unstable homes.

Blattner says there are some who feel it's just too dangerous to visit loved ones at risk for COVID-19.

"So we knew we needed to step in to help those students," said Blattner.

Meals, housing, healthcare and quarantine facilities will be open for students at no cost.

At Duke University, 108 students will remain on campus during the holiday.

Fifteen students will stay at Saint Augustine's through Sunday.

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But for those returning home, schools like NC State, NC Central and Campbell University are encouraging students to get tested.

Duke is requiring students to report where they are going during the holiday.

At Fayetteville State, the university's chancellor says 33 percent of students have already left.

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"This is the week of final exams so we are testing all of the students before they go home for the holidays. There are currently 12 students who have the virus and 1 employee," said Dr. Peggy Valentine.

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She says campus police recently shut down a dorm party where 40 students were cited for violating COVID-19 safety rules. Their punishment could include losing their housing next semester.

Testing students and staff at the start of spring semester will be critical.

Duke, UNC, and NCCU announced their will be mandatory COVID-19 testing when students return in January.

The roll out for the frequency of testing and locations will vary from school-to-school.
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