Duke extends online classes until Jan. 18 due to surging COVID-19 cases

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Duke University has extended its remote learning for all students until the middle of January due to North Carolina’s surge of COVID-19 cases.

Duke will keep classes online until Jan. 18 after the state reported its highest daily number of positive cases since early on in the pandemic. Public health officials reported more than 18,000 new cases on Thursday, a state record of 22-percent of the most recent batch of tests returning positive.

“We have all watched with great concern the extraordinarily rapid spread of the Omicron variant in our communities and around the world. On Thursday, the state of North Carolina reported the highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, representing a 60% increase over the previous one-day record,” the University said Friday. “We have also observed an incredibly high number of positive cases across our workforce this week, and increasing numbers among students who are already here in Durham.”

The move to Dec. 18 is a 10-day push back from the originally scheduled Jan. 10 decision.

Duke also said its infectious disease and public health experts have advised campus officials to anticipate that a large number of students will test positive in his or her return to campus. It also said it is anticipating positive test results, isolation periods and and caregiving responsibilities to affect faculty.

However, Duke said all resident halls will still open as planned on Jan. 2. But the University is encouraging students to plan to come back between Jan 3-18 to not swarm in at once.

“On-campus residential students are strongly encouraged to delay their return to campus to a time between January 3 and January 18, if possible. This will give us the ability to effectively and safely manage what is likely to be a surge of students and other members of the Duke community testing positive,” Duke said.

Finally, Duke said all students must still comply with re-entry and surveillance testing and priority for early testing will be given to graduate students.

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