DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Face masks are being strongly recommended in classrooms at Duke University.

Officials said the university is strongly recommending the use of face masks in classrooms and indoor gatherings, but use of masks is not required currently.

This announcement comes after the CDC classified the Durham area in the high-risk category for COVID-19 last week.  

Duke University previously shared that if the area stayed in the high-risk category for two consecutive weeks, then the university would require masking until the area was below the high-risk category.

Despite the CDC classification, officials shared that they are seeing “declining trends at Duke and in the community” and that cases and hospitalizations in Durham dropped by 40 percent last week, and cases on campus dropped “more than 60 percent in the last week.”

Graduate student, Haley Jobe, said she plans to continue masking. 

“About a third of my students this morning were masking,” she said. 

Professors can still require masks in class.

“My Writing 101 professor has, and everyone is very respectful and does it without an issue,” noted student, Gabrielle Gitman. 

Students CBS 17 spoke with say they look at a number of factors when deciding whether to wear a mask in class.

“I have some smaller classes which are like 12 people, so for those I don’t feel that it’s as much of a risk but for bigger, lecture halls that are a couple hundred it makes a lot more sense to wear a mask,” explained Gitman.

“I think it depends on the levels,” said Jobe. I’ve definitely not worn it this past fall with levels being low, but now that they are spiking again and I would like to travel and see family, I’m wearing my mask.”

Masks are still required on Duke buses and vans and when in “patient-care settings.”