I am writing to provide an update about Duke’s efforts to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that originated in China.
A Duke-wide task force under the direction of Vice President for Administration and Emergency Coordinator Kyle Cavanaugh has been meeting since early January to monitor COVID-19 at Duke. This task force includes senior clinicians and representatives from a number of academic, health care and operational areas. This task force is responsible for reviewing such issues as: outbound and inbound travel guidance; study abroad; on-campus summer programs; contingency and continuity plans in the event of an escalation in cases; and ensuring that all members of the Duke community have access to the information and support they need to protect their health and safety.
It is important to note that no cases of COVID-19 have been reported to date in North Carolina, at Duke University or with anyone directly connected to Duke (students, faculty or staff). Our physicians are in regular contact with federal, state and local public health officials and are deeply engaged in planning for a potential clinical response should there be an outbreak in this region.
In January, Duke created a central source for all news and announcements related to COVID-19. This site includes all the university’s statements, announcements and policies with regard to COVID-19. This website will be updated regularly to keep the Duke community informed. I encourage you to bookmark the site, share it with your colleagues, and check it often for reports on the coronavirus’s impact on Duke. We know this is a rapidly evolving situation, and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Duke is committed to being open and transparent in our communication.
While COVID-19 presents Duke, and indeed the world, with a great challenge, we can also take pride in the selfless work of a great many members of the Duke community, from the faculty and learning technology specialists who transformed Duke Kunshan University into an online campus in just a few weeks, to the scientists at Duke-NUS Medical School who developed the first rapid test to detect COVID-19, to our dedicated physicians and nurses who are prepared to treat the ill, to the many students, faculty and staff who have quickly and creatively transformed their teaching, research and service projects to adapt to a changing world. I hope you share my gratitude to them for their dedication to Duke’s highest ideals.
Vincent E. Price