Catholic University will invite fewer students to campus this fall as the novel coronavirus continues to spread through the country, the school’s president announced Friday afternoon.

The university will restrict the number of students who can live on campus and take classes in person when the semester starts Aug. 24, said John Garvey in a letter to the campus community. Priority will be given to first-year and certain transfer students.

Most sophomores, juniors and seniors will not live on the campus in Northeast Washington and will take their fall classes online.

“I understand this is disappointing news, because it is disappointing to us,” Garvey said. “But the large and sustained increase in infections nationwide poses a serious risk that we will be unable to provide the care necessary for a full complement of our student population.”

About 1,600 students had been expected to reside on campus. Now roughly 700 will, said Karna Lozoya, a school spokeswoman. Garvey indicated the university is equipped to care for a “smaller cohort” of students.

A limited amount of on-campus housing will also be made available to some upperclassmen, including resident assistants, international students and those with personal circumstances that would make it difficult to take online classes away from campus, Garvey said.

The university will conduct new student orientations and the first two weeks of classes online to comply with an order from D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser instructing travelers from 27 “high-risk” states to self-quarantine for 14 days. The District defines a high-risk area as one that is seeing new daily cases exceed 10 per 100,000 residents.

Catholic and other private universities in D.C. had intended to bring all students back for a mix of in-person and online courses, but those plans faded this week as the city started enforcing new travel restrictions and coronavirus hot spots continued to emerge across the country.

“We will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine when we can resume in-person courses and other activities,” Garvey said.

Garvey in his announcement did not indicate the school will offer discounts to students who will take all their classes online. Georgetown, George Washington and American universities disclosed plans to discount tuition by 10 percent for undergraduates when they scrapped plans to bring most students back to campus.