DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Duke University has lifted its stay-in-place order for undergraduate students.
“I had never had a version of Duke that was so restrained as last week was,” said Jake Malone, a senior student.
The university put the order in place last Sunday following a spike in cases that were linked to events held by unaffiliated fraternities. Within a week, the university said 180 students had to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, and another 200 had to quarantine because of contact tracing.
“I thought it was the right move,” said student Albert Sun. “The safety of the community comes first, and although the outbreak was sort of contained to one particular community, I thought it was the best move for the school to take.”
During the order, all classes moved online, students in university housing couldn’t leave their rooms or apartments for anything other than essential activities, including getting food, exercising, or doctor’s appointments. Students living on-campus also had a nightly 9 p.m. curfew.
“When 9 p.m. hit, it just felt really final,” Malone said of having a curfew. “Like, oh, everyone is inside, you can’t go outside now. That felt the weirdest to me.”
The university lifted the order after COVID-19 cases among students decreased. In-person classes will resume and students who live in university housing can move freely around the campus. But the university is asking students to only leave campus for essential travel or wellness activities.
“I feel great, I feel happy, my job is easier,” said Sun, who is a residential assistant in one of the dorms. “I feel happier that things are more chill and I can finally go out and eat with my friends.”
Malone added, “If one week of this helped a lot, which clearly it did since they’re lifting it, I feel a lot safer going forward. And I would hope that the student population kind of was rattled in the right way to behave safely and responsibly (behave) for the rest of the month and a half that we have.”
Since the start of the semester, the university has issued 128 sanctions to students for COVID-19 related violations. Sanctions could include suspensions for an upcoming semester, formal warnings, and disciplinary probation.
Two student organizations have also been suspended from campus for violating COVID-19 safety protocols.