North Carolina State University said Wednesday that it will close its dorms due to the number of coronavirus clusters on campus it called “untenable.”
The school moved all undergraduate classes online less than a week earlier amid numerous reports of new clusters. Graduate students, meanwhile, will continue in-person classes. The 300 graduate students living on campus will be allowed to stay in on-campus housing, according to the Raleigh News-Observer.
A total of 21 clusters have been reported at the university since the beginning of classes Aug. 10. Four are in on-campus residence halls, while another nine were found in fraternity or sorority houses and the remaining eight were in off-campus apartment complexes.
“Our students want to be here,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said at a Wednesday news conference. “Our parents want our students to be here. But they expect us to create an environment where they can be safe. And that’s our No. 1 priority. And it’s become untenable to provide on-campus housing and meet that threshold of health and safety.”
The school will move students out of dorms between Aug. 27 and Sept. 6. The university is considering allowing students with special circumstances to remain on-campus. For example, Woodson said, students may be granted exemptions if travel restrictions prevent them from returning home. Exemptions are also possible for students whose only alternate housing would be with a high-risk relative.
“We’re not where we want to be today, but we’re hopeful that by reducing our on-campus population, we can keep our community safe and slow the spread of this relentless virus,” Woodson said in a statement, according to the newspaper. “The vital work of the university will continue — to educate, to conduct groundbreaking research and to contribute to our world in meaningful ways.”
The news comes after UNC Chapel Hill and Eastern Carolina University announced they would move all classes online in the last week.