Duke, Princeton, more universities impose delays, new restrictions due to Omicron

Duke, Princeton, Oakland, and Christopher Newport University all announced some form of new restrictions before the spring semester commences.

Restrictions include quarantines, mask mandates, delayed starts, and travel restrictions.

With the Omicron variant sweeping the country, several universities are at least temporarily moving classes online, delaying the start of classes, or imposing new restrictions. 

Students at Duke University, Oakland University, Princeton University, and Christopher Newport University will now spend the beginning of the year under new COVID restrictions.

Duke University

Duke University sent a Dec. 31 email that said students are “strongly encouraged to delay their return to campus to a time between January 3 and January 18.”

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the email, which also announced that “[a]ll undergraduate, graduate, and professional school classes will now be remote until Tuesday, January 18 instead of January 10 as earlier announced.”

Marcus Deans, a student at Duke, believes that the restrictions, which include “re-entry and surveillance testing requirements,” are “due to the administration’s flawed framework which considers case count and not actual illness.” 

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While a lot of students returned to campus on time and continue to partake in normal activities off-campus, others like myself chose to delay their return to campus due to the onerous requirements and lack of normal college experience,” Deans said.

Per Duke COVID-19 restrictions, unvaccinated students that come in “close contact of a positive individual” must quarantine for 10 days while students that test positive must quarantine in their dorm rooms. 

Oakland University

At Oakland University, Winter 2022 classes will be delivered online Jan. 5 to Jan. 18. 

”This two week period also allows for quarantine time for any students who might have been exposed to COVID-19 over the break,” the Michigan university announced on its website Monday in reference to the shift online. 

Oakland’s director of media relations, Brian Brierley, referred Campus Reform to the university’s Jan. 3 press release. 

Princeton University

Princeton University has barred its students from traveling “outside of Mercer County or Plainsboro Township for personal reasons, except in extraordinary circumstances.”

Myles McKnight, a Princeton student and Campus Reform correspondent who recently spoke about the university’s restrictions on Fox Business, spoke with this reporter about the student reaction. 

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“Students are noticing the inconsistency inherent in policies like the travel restriction,” McKnight said.  

The current policies are “reminiscent of the restrictions in place last spring,” McKnight stated, adding that they appeared as a potential “return to the sort of restrictive regime [Princeton University] had in place last spring.”

Christopher Newport University

Christopher Newport University, a public university in Virginia, has also delayed its return to classes. 

CNU pushed back the start of classes from Jan. 5 to Jan. 10 and will keep classes virtual through Jan. 21. 

The parent of a CNU student told Campus Reform that both students and parents, “as well as professors,” are “upset and angry” over the policy. The parent requested anonymity. 

As of this writing, in-person learning will resume at CNU on Jan. 24. An indoor masking requirement is still in effect.