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Duke University undergrads ordered to stay in place all week as Covid-19 cases spike

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In a letter sent to students on Saturday, officials at the University of Durham, North Carolina, said more than 180 students have tested positive for Covid-19 and are isolated, while another 200 are in quarantine according to contact tracking.

The rise in cases is “mainly driven by students attending recruitment parties for selective life groups,” the letter said. This is the largest total in a week of positive cases and quarantines since the pandemic began, officials said.

All courses will move to remote learning and students living on campus must remain in their room or apartment at all times outside of essential activities, such as getting food or for health or safety reasons. Off-campus students are not allowed to participate in surveillance tests, seek medical attention, or pick up food orders.

The Duke outbreak is a new example of the ongoing danger of the pandemic, although new daily cases of Covid-19 continue to dwindle and millions of people are vaccinated. The outbreak has even reached the famous men’s basketball team, which retired from the ACC tournament Thursday after a positive case on the show.

“If this feels serious, it’s because it is,” the letter says. “Restricting the student movement, along with a renewed dedication to following social distancing, masking, symptom control, and other public health guidelines, provides us with the best way to reduce the spread. Duke Compact and will be treated as such flagrant and repeated violations shall be grounds for suspension or withdrawal of Duke. “

The letter was signed by Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Student Dean John Blackshear, Vice President of College Education Gary Bennett and Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon.

The letter says the chance to end the semester and start graduating students is to “hang on the scales.” Duke officials will provide an update on the order on March 18, he says.

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