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Northeastern says it won't refund tuition for students dismissed for breaking social distancing rules

Northeastern University said it will not refund tuition for students it dismissed for breaking COVID-19 social distancing rules.

The move was announced Friday as the Boston school attempts to prevent the pandemic from disrupting students' return to campus this fall, the Boston Globe reported.

The university has already dismissed 11 first-year students after they were caught violating social distancing rules at a hotel that is being used as a temporary dormitory.

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The students were found at the Westin Hotel on Wednesday evening not wearing face coverings and flouting social distancing protocols, university spokeswoman Renata Nyul told the Globe.

They will not be permitted to take classes online this fall but will be allowed to return in the spring.

The students were part of a one-semester program for freshmen that was purchased in advance for $36,500, and their tuition will not be refunded.

Northeastern said students who were dismissed would have the right to contest their dismissals at an expedited hearing.

The university is one of several schools in the Northeast to allow students to return for classes despite the ongoing pandemic, though some have already begun rolling back in-person classes as cases on campuses ramp up.

Schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opted to move all classes online after attempting in-person courses, and Notre Dame temporarily shifted to online-only instruction, though it said it would begin a gradual resumption of classes after Sept. 2. 

There were 818 students enrolled in Northeastern's program this semester, and the school is one of the few renting hotel rooms to provide more distance between attendees this fall.

The university said students were reminded on multiple occasions this week to follow pandemic protocols and were required to acknowledge reviewing the student handbook, which listed all of the required procedures.