MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted Monday to keep students off-campus a little while longer because of concerns over COVID-19.

U of M President Joan Gabel’s plan to delay the opening of dorms at the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester campuses and begin undergrad classes online was passed in an 8-3 vote. Graduate and professional students will continue with their schedule already in place.

“We appreciate the work that President Gabel, her administration and thousands of faculty and staff members have invested to develop comprehensive plans for fall,” Board of Regents Chair Ken Powell said. “The University has valued flexibility in its plans to allow us to adjust course to best protect our campus communities. This pause to additionally assess the dynamic landscape around us will help ensure that our plans continue to reflect the latest public health guidance.”

According to the University, if campus housing is the student’s safety and best option, the school will ensure they have a place to stay on the campus.

“I think it’s a smart move by the university to reduce the number of cases,” sophomore Thomas Atkins said.

“To be honest I would really like that to be a whole semester online,” Ray Shehadeh added.

The University’s Dr. Michael Osterholm expressed concern about reports of students across the country not wanting to get tested for the virus.

“A number of colleges report that 50% of students say no I don’t want to talk to you, even though I was exposed, and refuse to be tested,” Dr. Osterholm said.

While the plan passed, those who opposed the plan question how delaying two weeks could make a difference on any decisions.

“Not because something magical will happen in that two week time, but we will have more time than we had,” Gabel added.

At the U of M’s Crookston and Morris campuses, students have already moved into housing. Classes will continue as scheduled at both locations, due to lower COVID-19 case numbers in their areas.

UMD classes are scheduled to start next Monday and U of M classes in the Twin Cities and Rochester are scheduled to start the day after Labor Day, Sept. 8.

Kate Raddatz