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COVID-19 surge in NC: Duke moves to remote classes, ACC changes forfeit rules

Duke University campus entrance sign
Gerry Broome
This Jan. 28, 2019 file photo shows the entrance to the main Duke University campus in Durham, N.C.

Duke University has announced it will hold classes remotely early in the spring semester.

Citing the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Duke said all classes will be held remotely through Jan. 8. In-person instruction is scheduled to resume Jan. 10, but all students will be required to receive a COVID booster shot and a negative COVID test before returning to campus.

University spokesman Michael Schoenfeld says the move is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Because we start pretty early in January compared to many other institutions, we did want to take a little bit of a pause, and have remote classes for the first three days of the semester,” he said.

Schoenfeld says that pause will allow the university to assess case counts early in the year and then decide whether to extend remote learning.

The university already requires all faculty, staff and students to be fully vaccinated. And it will require booster shots as well.

UNC-Chapel Hill leaders said Wednesday they'll announce any changes to the spring semester calendar before Jan. 3. They said unvaccinated students and all students living in residence halls must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours before returning to campus.

State health leaders in North Carolina said Tuesday that nearly 1,700 people are hospitalized from the virus that causes COVID-19.

In sports, the Atlantic Coast Conference — which both Duke and UNC play in — has changed its rules about games that are canceled because of COVID-19. If a men's or women's basketball team doesn't have seven players available because of positive COVID-19 tests, their game will now be declared a "no contest." Under the previous rule, the team forfeited.

The change is retroactive, meaning games the Boston College men and Miami women already lost due to forfeits are now considered "no contests” and won’t count as a loss on their records.

Wake Forest’s football team now needs a new opponent for the Gator Bowl after Texas A&M pulled out due to COVID-19 issues within its team. The game is set for Dec. 31 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Disclaimer: Michael Schoenfeld sits on the WUNC board of directors.

Jason deBruyn is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Digital News, a position he took in 2024. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016 as a reporter.
Adam Hochberg is a journalist with more than two decades experience with national news organizations. Hochberg spent 15 years as a correspondent for National Public Radio. His work also has been featured on CBS, ABC, and the PBS Newshour.
Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
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